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S ^T^ ^ 

UN Tzu 







Assistant in the Department of Oriental Printed Books & MSS. 
in the British Museum. 








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Sun Wu and his Book xi 

The Text of Sun Tzu xxx 

The Commentators xxxiv 

Appreciations of Sun Tzu xlii 

Apologies for war xliii 

Bibliography 1 

Chap. I. Laying Plans i 

II. Waging War 9 

III. Attack by Stratagem 17 

IV. Tactical Dispositions 26 

V. Energy 33 

VI._Weak Points and Strong 42 

VIL Manoeuvring 55 

VIII. Variation of Tactics 71 

IX,-Xhe Army on the March 80 

Terrain 100 

The Nine Situations 114 

The Attack by Fire 150 

" XIII. The Use of Spies . 160 


INDEX 192 


The seventh volume of "Memoires concernant 1'histoire, 
les sciences, les arts, les mceurs, les usages, &c., des 
Chinois" 1 is devoted to the Art of War, and contains, 
amongst other treatises, "Les Treize Articles de Sun-tse, " 
translated from the Chinese by a Jesuit Father, Joseph 
Amiot. Pere Amiot appears to have enjoyed no small 
reputation as a sinologue in his day, and the field of his 
labours was certainly extensive. But his so-called trans- 
lation of Sun Tzu, if placed side by side with the original, 
is seen at once to be little better than an imposture. It 
contains a great deal that Sun Tzu did not write, and 
very little indeed of what he did. Here is a fair speci- 
men, taken from the opening sentences of chapter 5 : 

De Vhabilete dans le gouvernement des Troupes. Sun-tse dit : Ayez les 
noms de tous les Officiers tant generaux que subalternes; inscrivez-les 
dans un catalogue a part, avec la note des talents & de la capacite de 
chacun d'eux, afin de pouvoir les employer avec avantage lorsque 1'oc- 
casion en sera venue. Faites en sorte que tous ceux que vous devez 
commander soient persuades que votre principale attention est de les 
preserver de tout dommage. Les troupes que vous ferez avancer centre 
1'ennemi doivent etre comme des pierres que vous lanceriez centre des 
oeufs. De vous a 1'ennemi il ne doit y avoir d'autre difference que celle 
du fort au foible, du vuide au plein. Attaquez a decouvert, mais soyez 
vainqueur en secret. Voila en peu de mots en quoi consiste 1'habilete & 
toute la perfection meme du gouvernement des troupes. 

Throughout the nineteenth century, which saw a wonder- 
ful development in the study of Chinese literature, no 
translator ventured to tackle Sun Tzu, although his work 
was known to be highly valued in China as by far the 

1 Published at Paris in 1782. 


oldest and best compendium of military science. It wa; 
not until the year 1905 that the first English translation 
by Capt. E. F. Calthrop, R.F.A., appeared at Tokyo 
under the title "Sonshi" (the Japanese form of Sun Tzu). 
Unfortunately, it was evident that the translator's know 
ledge of Chinese was far too scanty to fit him to grappl( 
with the manifold difficulties of Sun Tzu. He himsel 
plainly acknowledges that without the aid of two Japanes< 
gentlemen "the accompanying translation would have beer 
impossible." We can only wonder, then, that with thei 
help it should have been so excessively bad. It is no 
merely a question of downright blunders, from which non< 
can hope to be wholly exempt. Omissions were frequent 
hard passages were wilfully distorted or slurred over. Sucl 
offences are less pardonable. They would not be tolerate( 
in any edition of a Greek or Latin classic, and a simila 
standard of honesty ought to be insisted upon in trans 
lations from Chinese. 

From blemishes of this nature, at least, I believe tha 
the present translation is free. It was not undertake! 
out of any inflated estimate of my own powers; but 
could not help feeling that Sun Tzu deserved a bette 
fate than had befallen him, and I knew that, at any rate 
I could hardly fail to improve on the work of my predeces 
sors. Towards the end of 1908, a new and revised editioi 
of Capt. Calthrop's translation was published in London 
this time, however, without any allusion to his Japanes 
collaborators. My first three chapters were then alread; 
in the printer's hands, so that the criticisms of Capl 
Calthrop therein contained must be understood as refer 
ring to his earlier edition. In the subsequent chapters 
have of course transferred my attention to the secon> 
edition. This is on the whole an improvement on th 
other, though there still remains much that cannot pas 

1 A rather distressing Japanese flavour pervades the work throughout. Thus, Kir 
Ho Lu masquerades as "Katsuryo," Wu and Yu'eh become "Go" and "Etsu," etc. etc, 


muster. Some of the grosser blunders have been rectified 
and lacunae filled up, but on the other hand a certain 
number of new mistakes appear. The very first sentence 
of the introduction is startlingly inaccurate; and later on, 
while mention is made of "an army of Japanese com- 
mentators" on Sun Tzu (who are these, by the way?), not 
a word is vouchsafed about the Chinese commentators, 
who nevertheless, I venture to assert, form a much more 
numerous and infinitely more important "army." 

A few special features of the present volume may now 
be noticed. In the first place, the text has been cut up 
into numbered paragraphs, both in order to facilitate cross- 
reference and for the convenience of students generally. 
The division follows broadly that of Sun Hsing-yen's edition ; 
but I have sometimes found it desirable to join two or 
more of his paragraphs into one. In quoting from other 
works, Chinese writers seldom give more than the bare 
title by way of reference, and the task of research is apt 
to be seriously hampered in consequence. With a view 
to obviating this difficulty so far as Sun Tzu is concerned, 
I have also appended a complete concordance of Chinese 
characters, following in this the admirable example of 
Legge, though an alphabetical arrangement has been 
preferred to the distribution under radicals which he 
adopted. Another feature borrowed from "The Chinese 
Classics" is the printing of text, translation and notes on 
the same page ; the notes, however, are inserted, according 
to the Chinese method, immediately after the passages to 
which they refer. From the mass of native commentary 
my aim has been to extract the cream only, adding the 
Chinese text here and there when it seemed to present 
points of literary interest. Though constituting in itself 
an important branch of Chinese literature, very little com- 
mentary of this kind has hitherto been made directly acces- 
sible by translation. l 

1 A notable exception is to be found in Biot's edition of the Chou Li. 


I may say in conclusion that, owing to the printing off 
of my sheets as they were completed, the work has not 
had the benefit of a final revision. On a review of the 
whole, without modifying the substance of my criticisms, 
I might have been inclined in a few instances to temper 
their asperity. Having chosen to wield a bludgeon, how- 
ever, I shall not cry out if in return I am visited with 
more than a rap over the knuckles. Indeed, I have been 
at some pains to put a sword into the hands of future 
opponents by scrupulously giving either text or reference 
for every passage translated. A scathing review, even from 
the pen of the Shanghai critic who despises "mere trans- 
lations," would not, I must confess, be altogether unwel- 
come. For, after all, the worst fate I shall have to dread 
is that which befel the ingenious paradoxes of George in 
The Vicar of Wakefield. 



Ssu-ma Ch'ien gives the following biography of Sun 
Tzu: 1 - * 

Sun Tzu Wu was a native of the Cn'i State. His Art 
of War brought him to the notice of f|fj IS Ho Lu, 2 King of 1^ 
Wu. Ho Lu said to him: I have carefully perused your 13 chapters. 
May I submit your theory of managing soldiers to a slight test? Sun 
Tzu replied: You may. Ho Lu asked: May the test be applied to 
women? The answer was again in the affirmative, so arrangements 
were made to bring 180 ladies out of the Palace. Sun Tzu divided them 
into two companies, and placed one of the King's favourite concubines 
at the head of each. He then bade them all take spears in their hands, 
and addressed them thus: I presume you know the difference between 
front and back, right hand and left hand? The girls replied: Yes. - 
Sun Tzu went on: When I say "Eyes front," you must look straight 
ahead. When I say "Left turn," you must face towards your left hand. 
When I say "Right turn," you must face towards your right hand. When 
I say "About turn," you must face right round towards the back. 
Again the girls assented. The words of command having been thus ex-- 
plained, he set up the halberds and battle-axes in order to begin the drill. 
Then, to the sound of drums, he gave the order "Right turn." But the 
girls only burst out laughing. Sun Tzu said : If words of command are 
not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, then the 
general is to blame. So he started drilling them again, and this time 
gave the order "Left turn," whereupon the girls once more burst into 
fits of laughter. Sun Tzu said : If words of command are not clear and 
distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. 
But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it 
is the fault of their officers. So saying, he ordered the leaders of the 
two companies to be beheaded. Now the King of Wu was watching the 

1 Shih Chi, ch. 6s. 

2 Also written ^ Rf| Ho LU. He reigned from 514 to 496 B.C. 


scene from the top of a raised pavilion ; and when he saw that his fa- 
vourite concubines were about to be executed, he was greatly alarmed 
and hurriedly sent down the following message: We are now quite satis- 
fied as to our general's ability to handle troops. If We are bereft of these 
two concubines, our meat and drink will lose their savour. It is our 
wish that they shall not be beheaded. Sun Tzu replied: Having once 
received His Majesty's commission to be general of his forces, there are 
certain commands of His Majesty which, acting in that capacity, I am 
unable to accept. Accordingly, he had the two leaders beheaded, and 
straightway installed the pair next in order as leaders in their place. 
When this had been done, the drum was sounded for the drill once more ; 
and the girls went through all the evolutions, turning to the right or to 
the left, marching ahead or wheeling back, kneeling or standing, with 
perfect accuracy and precision, not venturing to utter a sound. Then 
Sun Tzu sent a messenger to the King saying: Your soldiers, Sire, are 
now properly drilled and disciplined, and ready for Your Majesty's in- 
spection. They can be put to any use that their sovereign may desire; 
bid them go through fire and water, and they will not disobey. But 
the King replied: Let our general cease drilling and return to camp. As 
for us, We have no wish to come down and inspect the troops. There- 
upon Sun Tzu said: The King is only fond of words, and cannot trans- 
late them into deeds. After that, Ho Lu saw that Sun Tzu was one 
who knew how to handle an army, and finally appointed him general. 
In the West, he defeated the GJi__State and forced his way into Yin 
the capital; to the north, he put fear into the States of Ch'i and Chin, 
and spread his fame abroad amongst the feudal princes. And Sun Tzu 
shared in the might of the King. 

About Sun Tzu himself this is all that Ssu-ma Ch'ien 
has to tell us in this chapter. But he proceeds to give 
a biography of his descendant, J$fr Jj|| Sun Pin, born about 
a hundred years after his famous ancestor's death, and 
also the outstanding military genius of his time. The 
historian speaks of him too as Sun Tzu, and in his preface 
we read: % -f- $f jjjj] ft) jfft _E| j "Sun Tzu had his feet 
cut off and yet continued to discuss the art of war." l 
It seems likely, then, that "Pin" was a nickname bestowed 
on him after his mutilation, unless indeed the story was 
invented in order to account for the name. The crowning 
incident of his career, the crushing defeat of his treacherous 
rival P'ang Chuan, will be found briefly related on p. 40. 

1 Shih Chi, ch. 130 , f. 6 r. 


To return to the elder Sun Tzu. He is mentioned in 
two other passages of the Shih Chi: - 

In the third year of his reign [512 B.C.] Ho Lu, King of Wu, took 
the field with -^ ^ Tzu-hsu [i.e. f J| Wu Yiian] and fj g-g Po 
P'ei, and attacked Ch'u. He captured the town of ^ Shu and slew 
the two prince's sons who had formerly been generals of Wu. He was 
then meditating a descent on |$ Ying [the capital]; but the general 
Sun Wu said: "The army is exhausted. ' It is not yet possible. We 
must wait". . . . 2 [After further successful fighting,] "in the ninth year 
[506 B.C.], King Ho Lu of Wu addressed Wu Tzu-hsii and Sun Wu, 
saying: "Formerly, you declared that it was not yet possible for us to 
enter Ying. Is the time ripe now?" The two men replied: "ChVs 
general, -^ ^ Tzu-ch'ang, 3 is grasping and covetous, and the princes 
of HI* T'ang and ^^ Ts'ai both have a grudge against him. If Your 
Majesty has resolved to make a grand attack, you must win over T'ang 
and Ts'ai, and then you may succeed." Ho Lu followed this advice, 
[beat Ch'u in five pitched battles and marched into Ying]. 4 

This is the latest date at which anything is recorded 
of Sun Wu. He does not appear to have survived his 
patron, who died from the effects of a wound in 496. 

In the chapter entitled ffit fj (the earlier portion of 
which M. Chavannes believes to be a fragment of a treatise 
on Military Weapons), there occurs this passage : 5 

From this time onward, a number of famous soldiers arose, one after 
the other : ^~ ;||J Kao-fan, 6 who was employed by the Chin State ; 
Wang-tzu, 7 in the service of Ch'i; and Sun Wu, in the service of Wu. 
These men developed and threw light upon the principles of war ( m 

1 I note that M. Chavannes translates f& *^ "le peuple est e"puise." But in 
Sun Tzu's own book (see especially VII 24 26) the ordinary meaning of ^& 

is "army," and this, I think, is more suitable here. 

2 These words are given also in Wu Tzu-hsii's biography, ch. 66, fol. 3 r. 

3 The appellation of ^T Nang Wa. 

4 Shih Chi^ ch. 31, fol. 6r. 

5 Ibid. ch. 25, fol. i r. 

6 The appellation of ;jfjfj ^& Hu Yen, mentioned in ch. 39 under t^' year 637. 

7 ^ -^ jjjjjj ^ Wang-tzii Ch c eng-fu, ch. 32, year 607. 


It is obvious that Ssu-ma Ch'ien at least had no doubt 
about the reality of Sun Wu as an historical personage ; 
and with one exception, to be noticed presently, he is by 
far the most important authority on the period in question. 
It will not be necessary, therefore, to say much of such 
a work as the ^ ^ ^ ^ Wu Yiieh Cfcun Cfciu, which 
is supposed to have been written by Jj| fl|| Chao Yeh of 
the I st century A.D. The attribution is somewhat doubt- 
ful ; but even if it were otherwise, his account would be 
of little value, based as it is on the Shih Chi and ex- 
panded with romantic details. The story of Sun Tzu will 
be found, for what it is worth, in chapter 2. The only 
new points in it worth noting are: i) Sun Tzu was first 
recommended to Ho Lu by Wu Tzu-hsli. 2) He is called 
a native of Wu. x 3) He had previously lived a retired 
life, and his contemporaries were unaware of his ability. 2 

The following passage occurs in ^ fjf -^ Huai-nan Tzu : 
"When sovereign and ministers show perversity of mind, 
it is impossible even for a Sun Tzu to encounter the foe." 3 
Assuming that this work is genuine (and hitherto no doubt 
has been cast upon it), we have here the earliest direct 
reference to Sun Tzu, for Huai-nan Tzu died in 122 B.C., 
many years before the Shih Chi was given to the world. 

UJ [S] Liu Hsiang (B.C. 80-9) in his %fr ff> says: "The 
reason why Sun Wu at the head of 30,000 men beat 

1 The mistake is natural enough. Native critics refer to the ^ ^ft !^ , 
a work of the Han dynasty, which says (ch. 2, fol. 3 v of my edition) : /g P^ 

"Ten li outside the Wu gate [of the city of ^ Wu, now Soochow in 
Kiangsu] there is a great mound, raised to commemorate the entertainment of Sun 
Wu of Ch c i, who excelled in the art of war, by the King of Wu." 

M * ? 7 ft ft 


Ch'u with 200,000 is that the latter were undisciplined." 1 
15 ^ tft T eng Ming-shih in his jft R ^ |f || (com- 
pleted in 1 1 34) informs us that the surname ^ was be- 
stowed on Sun Wu's grandfather by j|Sr + Duke Ching 
of Ch'i [547-490 B.C.]. Sun Wu's father Sun }J| P'ing, 
rose to be a Minister of State in Ch'i, and Sun Wu him- 
self, whose style was J| j)|||J Ch'ang-ch'ing, fled to Wu on 
account of the rebellion which was being fomented by the 
kindred of gj jj& T c ien Pao. He had three sons, of whom 
the second, named B|j Ming, was the father of Sun Pin. 
According to this account, then, Pin was the grandson 
of Wu, 3 which, considering that Sun Pin's victory over 
^ Wei was gained in 341 B.C., may be dismissed as 
chronologically impossible. Whence these data were ob- 
tained by Teng Ming-shih I do not know, but of course 
no reliance whatever can be placed in them. 

An interesting document which has survived from the 
close of the Han period is the short preface written by 
the great ]f ^ Ts'ao Ts'ao, or H jf tffr Wei Wu Ti, 
for his edition of Sun Tzu. I shall give it in full : 

I have heard that the ancients used bows and arrows to their advan- 
tage. 3 The Lun Yii says : "There must be a sufficiency of military 
strength." 4 The Shu Ching mentions "the army" among the "eight 
objects of government." 5 The I Ching says: " ||jjj 'army' indicates 
firmness and justice; the experienced leader will have good fortune." 6 

2 The Shih Chi, on the other hand, says : 

3fa -fjl . I may remark in passing that the name jj for one who was a great 
warrior is just as suspicious as H^ f r a man wh had his feet cut off. 

An allusion to , , II. ,: 

jtjjj^ ^ ^ ^|J J[/j[ ^ ^ ~j\ "They attached strings to wood to make 
bows, and sharpened wood to make arrows. The use of bows and arrows is to 
keep the Empire in awe." 

4 !if Jnf XIL 7 ' 5 IS t? V ' iv * 7> 

, 7th diagram ( gjg ). 


The Shih Ching says : "The King rose majestic in his wrath, and he 
marshalled his troops." ' The Yellow Emperor, T'ang the Completer 
and Wu Wang all used spears and battle-axes in order to succour their 
generation. The Ssu-ma Fa says : "If one man slay another of set pur- 
pose, he himself may rightfully be slain." 2 He who relies solely on 
warlike measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful 
measures shall perish. Instances of this are Fu Ch'ai 3 on the one hand 
and Yen Wang on the other. * In military matters, the Sage's rule is 
normally to keep the peace, and to move his forces only when occasion 
requires. He will not use armed force unless driven to it by necessity. 5 
Many books have I read on the subject of war and fighting; but the 
work composed by Sun Wu is the profoundest of them all. [Sun Tzu 
was a native of the Ch'i state, his personal name was Wu. He wrote 
the Art of War in 13 chapters for Ho Lii, King of Wu. Its principles 
were tested on women, and he was subsequently made a general. He 
led an army westwards, crushed the Ch'u State and entered Ying the 
capital. In the north, he kept Ch'i and Chin in awe. A hundred years 
and more after his time, Sun Pin lived. He was a descendant of Wu]. 6 
In his treatment of deliberation and planning, the importance of rapidity 
in taking the field, 7 clearness of conception, and depth of design, Sun 

ch. I ( ) ad init. The text of the passage in the 

5) - ft ft A % A $t 

3 The son and successor of Ho Lu. He was finally defeated and overthrown by 
^J jg| Kou Chien, King of Yiieh, in 473 B.C. See post. 

4 King Yen of |fj Hsu, a fabulous being, of whom Sun Hsing-yen says in 

his preface: ^ ffjj j "His humanity brought him to destruction." See Shih 
Chi^ ch. 5, f. i z/ c , and M. Chavannes' note, Memoires Historiques^ torn. II, p. 8. 
i TV, Skn, HU. ch. 90: $ ^ J- ^ gfc ^ gj| H 

B & :fc ft 1= A # B IS ^ B 0TJT 5t A 1* B 

* * tr * mn .1 * 4 -A -^ Jt * k. * 


6 The passage I have put in brackets is omitted in the T'-u Shu, and may be 
an interpolation. It was known, however, to j*J| ^ |j} Chang Shou-chieh of 
the T'ang dynasty, and appears in the T l ai P^ing Yu Lan. 

7 Ts'ao Kung seems to be thinking of the first part of chap. II, perhaps 
especially of 8. 


Tzfi stands beyond the reach of carping criticism. My contemporaries, 
however, have failed to grasp the full meaning of his instructions, and 
while putting into practice the smaller details in which his work abounds, 
they have overlooked its essential purport. That is the motive which has 
led me to outline a rough explanation of the whole. * 

One thing to be noticed in the above is the explicit 
statement that the 1 3 chapters were specially composed 
for King Ho Lu. This is supported by the internal 
evidence of I. 15, in which it seems clear that some 
ruler is addressed. 

In the bibliographical section of the Han Shu, 3 there 
is an entry which has given rise to much discussion : 
^^-f-A + H ^^1^ "The works of Sun Tzu 
of Wu in 82 p'ien (or chapters), with diagrams in 9 chuan." 
It is evident that this cannot be merely the 13 chapters 
known to Ssu-ma Ch'ien, or those we possess to-day. 
Chang Shou-chieh in his jjj ff g j J|| refers to an edition 
of Sun Tzu's -ft jj- of which the " 1 3 chapters" formed 
the first chuan, adding that there were two other chuan 
besides. 3 This has brought forth a theory, that the bulk 
of these 82 chapters consisted of other writings of Sun 
Tzii - - we should call them apocryphal similar to the 
^{j ^ Wen Ta, of which a specimen dealing with the 
Nine Situations 4 is preserved in the :J|| J& T^ung Tien, 
and another in Ho Shih's commentary. It is suggested 


A A 

A # # s # am & A IB 

at A * z 

3 The -|j^ ~7yT =^ mentions two editions of Sun Tzii in 3 chuan, namely 

fc? -a 

* See chap. XL 


that before his interview with Ho Lu, Sun Tzu had only 
written the 13 chapters, but afterwards composed a sort 
of execresis in the form of question and answer between 
himself and the King. || $ jfj Pi I-hsiin, author of the 
^ jy. fe ^ Sun Tzu Hsu Lu, backs this up with a 
quotation from the Wu Yueh Cfcun Cfciu: "The King of 
Wu summoned Sun Tzu, and asked him questions about 
the art of war. Each time he set forth a chapter of his 
work, the King could not find words enough to praise 
him." l As he points out, if the whole work was ex- 
pounded on the same scale as in the above-mentioned 
fragments, the total number of chapters could not fail to 
be considerable. 3 Then the numerous other treatises at- 
tributed to Sun Tzu 3 might also be included. The fact 
that the Han Chih mentions no work of Sun Tzu except 
the 82 p'ien, whereas the Sui and T'ang bibliographies 
give the titles of others in addition to the "13 chapters," 
is good proof, Pi I-hsiin thinks, that all of these were 
contained in the 82 p^ien. Without pinning our faith to 
the accuracy of details supplied by the Wu Yuek Cfcun 
Cfciu, or admitting the genuineness of any of the treatises 
cited by Pi I-hslin, we may see in this theory a probable 
solution of the mystery. Between Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Pan 
Ku there was plenty of time for a luxuriant crop of for- 
geries to have grown up under the magic name of Sun 
Tzu, and the 82 p'ien may very well represent a collected 
edition of these lumped together with the original work. 

3 Such as the /\ |8j[ |jj , quoted in ^|J ^ Cheng Hsuan's commentary on 
the Ckon Li, the ffc g| ^ |Eff fe and j || , mentioned in 

* e Rt ^fe Sui C '" h -' and the S ~f" ^. ij[ jjj , in 'he Han Tang Chih. 


It is also possible, though less likely, that some of them 
existed in the time of the earlier historian and were pur- 
posely ignored by him. l 

Tu Mu, after Ts'ao Kung the most important commen- 
tator on Sun Tzu, composed the preface to his edition 3 
about the middle of the ninth century. After a somewhat 
lengthy defence of the military art, 3 he comes at last to 
Sun Tzu himself, and makes one or two very startling 
assertions : -- "The writings of Sun Wu," he says, "originally 
comprised several hundred thousand words, but Ts'ao Ts'ao, 
the Emperor Wu Wei, pruned away all redundancies and 
wrote out the essence of the whole, so as to form a single 
book in 1 3 chapters." 4 He goes on to remark that Ts'ao 
Ts'ao's commentary on Sun Tzu leaves a certain proportion 
of difficulties unexplained. This, in Tu Mu's opinion, does 
not necessarily imply that he was unable to furnish a com- 
plete commentary. 5 According to the Wei Chih, Ts'ao 
himself wrote a book on war in something over 100,000 
words, known as the ^ |J . It appears to have been of 
such exceptional merit that he suspects Ts'ao to have used 
for it the surplus material which he had found in Sun Tzu. 
He concludes, however, by saying: "The Hsin Shu is now 
lost, so that the truth cannot be known for certain." 6 

Tu Mu's conjecture seems to be based on a passage 

1 On the other hand, it is noteworthy that -* Wu Tzu, which is now 
in 6 chapters, has 48 assigned to it in the Han Chih. Likewise, the pt| m 
Chttng Yung is credited with 49 chapters, though now in one only. In the case of 
such very short works, one is tempted to think that jg|| might simply mean "leaves." 

2 See T-u Shu, |g || M, ch. 442, j| ^ 2. 

3 An extract will be found on p. xlv. 

4 se % m 9 Ji m. -m w 

1 r ff I 


in the ^ |jf $$ ^ "Wei Wu Ti strung together Sun Wu's 
Art of War," l which in turn may have resulted from a 
misunderstanding of the final words of Ts'ao Kung's preface: 

#fc ft 1S fl&H 1^ This > as Sun Hsing-yen points out, 2 
is only a modest way of saying that he made an explana- 
tory paraphrase, 3 or in other words, wrote a commentary 
on it. On the whole, the theory has met with very little 
acceptance. Thus, the (Jtj J|[ ^ |J says: 4 "The mention 
of the 13 chapters in the Shih Chi shows that they were 
in existence before the Han Chih, and that later accretions 
are not to be considered part of the original work. Tu 
Mu's assertion can certainly not be taken as proof." 5 

There is every reason to suppose, then, that the 13 
chapters existed in the time of Ssu-ma Ch'ien practically 
as we have them now. That the work was then well 
known he tells us in so many words: "Sun Tzu's 13 
Chapters and Wu Ch'i's Art of W T ar are the two books 
that people commonly refer to on the subject of military 
matters. Both of then are widely distributed, so I will 
not discuss them here." 6 But as we go further back, 
serious difficulties begin to arise. The salient fact which 
has to be faced is that the Tso Chuan, the great con- 
temporary record, makes no mention whatever of Sun 

frlr Q 




W u^ either as a general or as a writer. It is natural, in 
view of this awkward circumstance, that many scholars 
should not only cast doubt on the story of Sun Wu as 
given in the Shih Chi, but even show themselves frankly 
sceptical as to the existence of the man at all. The most 
powerful presentment of this side of the case is to be 
found in the following disquisition by IPf ^(C Aj> Yeh 
Shui-hsin : l - 

It is stated in Ssu-ma Ch'ien's history that Siin Wu was a native of 
the Ch'i State, and employed by Wu; and that in the^eign of Ho Lu 
he crushed Ch'u, entered Ying, and was a great general. But in Tso's 
Commentary no Sun Wu appears at all. It is true that Tso's Commen- 
tary need not contain absolutely everything that other histories contain. 
But Tso has not omitted to mention vulgar plebeians and hireling ruf- 
fians such as Ying K'ao-shu, a Ts'ao Kuei, 3 Chu Chih-wu 4 and Chuan 
She-chu. 5 In the case of Sun Wu, whose fame and achievements were 
so brilliant, the omission is much more glaring. Again, details are given, 
in their due order, about his contemporaries Wu Yuan and the Minister 
P'ei. 6 Is it credible that Sun Wu alone should have been passed over? 7 

In point of literary style, Sun Tzu's work belongs to the same school 
as Kuan Tzu,* the Liu T'ao,* and the Yueh Yu, 10 and may have 

1 Yeh shih of the Sun s d y nast y [11511223]. see 

ch. 221, ff. 7, 8. 

2 See Tso Chuan, [ / , I. 3 ad fin. and XI. 3 ad init. He hardly deserves 
to be bracketed with assassins. 

3 See pp. 66, 128. 

* See Tso Chuan, fit ^ , XXX. 5. 

5 See p. 128. Chuan Chu is the abbreviated form of his name. 

6 7. e. Po P c ei. See ante. 

m m z m 

8 The nucleus of this work is probably genuine, though large additions have 
been made by later hands. Kuan Chung died in 645 B. C. 

9 See infra, p. 1. 

10 I do not know what work this is, unless it be the last chapter of the |||| =|^> . 
Why that chapter should be singled out, however, is not clear. 


been the production of some private scholar living towards the end of 
the "Spring and Autumn" or the beginning of the "Warring States" period. 
The story that his precepts were actually applied by the Wu State, is 
merely the outcome of big talk on the part of his followers. 2 

From the flourishing period of the Chou dynasty 3 down to the time of 
the a Spring and Autumn," all military commanders were statesmen as well, 
and the class of professional generals, for conducting external campaigns, 
did not then exist. It was not until the period of the "Six States" * 
that this custom changed. Now although Wu was an uncivilised State, 
is it conceivable that Tso should have left unrecorded the fact that Sun 
Wu was a great general and yet held no civil office? What we are told, 
therefore, about Jang-chu 5 and Sun Wu, is not authentic matter, but 
the reckless fabrication of theorising pundits. The story of Ho Lu's ex- 
periment on the women, in particular, is utterly preposterous and in- 
credible. 6 

Yeh Shui-hsin represents Ssu-ma Ch'ien as having- said 
that Sun Wu crushed Ch'u and entered Ying. This is 
not quite correct. No doubt the impression left on the 
reader's mind is that he at least shared in these exploits; 
but the actual subject of the verbs $ , A > M an ^ II 
is certainly |ff) fjg , as is shown by the next words : 

^ * H- ^ JJ M 7 The fact ma y or ma y not t>e 

significant; but it is nowhere explicitly stated in the Shih 
Chi either that Sun Tzti was general on the occasion of 

' About 480 B. C. 


*B %ilj ft A 

That is, I suppose, the age of Wu Wang and Chou Rung. 

4 In the 3rd century B. C. 

5 Ssu-ma Jang-chu, whose family name was |JJ Tien, lived in the latter half 
of the 6th century B. C., and is also believed to have written a work on war. See 
Shih Chi, ch. 64, and infra, p. 1. 


See the end of the passage quoted from the Shih Chi on 

p. xii. 


the taking of Ying, or that he even went there at all. 
Moreover, as we know that Wu Yuan and Po P c ei both 
took part in the expedition, and also that its success was 
largely due to the dash and enterprise of ^ |f| Fu Kai, 
Ho Lu's younger brother, it is not easy to see how yet 
another general could have played a very prominent part 
in the same campaign. 

$ft 1H 3& Ch'en Chen-sun of the Sung dynasty has 
the note : l 

Military writers look upon Sun Wu as the father of their art. But the 
fact that he does not appear in the Tso Chuan, although he is said to 
have served under Ho Lii King of Wu, makes it uncertain what period 
he really belonged to. 2 

He also says : 
The works of Sun Wu and Wu Ch'i may be of genuine antiquity. 3 

It is noticeable that both Yeh Shui-hsin and Ch'en 
Chen-sun, while rejecting the personality of Sun Wu as 
he figures in Ssu-ma Ch'ien's history, are inclined to ac- 
cept the date traditionally assigned to the work which 
passes under his name. The author of the Hsu Lu fails 
to appreciate this distinction, and consequently his bitter 
attack on Ch'en Chen-sun really misses its mark. He 
makes one or two points, however, which certainly tell in 
favour of the high antiquity of our "13 chapters." "Sun 
Tzu," he says, "must have lived in the age of Ching 
Wang [519476], because he is frequently plagiarised in 
subsequent works of the Chou, Ch4n and Han dynasties." 4 

1 In the ^jiL ^jJ jij# -9|j f a classified catalogue of his family library. 

' See Win Hsien T'ung K'ao, eh. 221, 1. 9 r : \ =j & % jjflj ^ 

fi yn 4 it A x li n ffi ? j& M .^- ii. ^''.M il if 

Bf A-tfc- 

3 See Hsu Lu, f. ,4 , 

Here is a list of the passages in Sun Tzii from which 


The two most shameless offenders in this respect are Wu 
Ch l i and Huai-nan Tzu, both of them important historical 
personages in their day. The former lived only a century 
after the alleged date of Sun Tzu, and his death is known 
to have taken place in 381 B.C. It was to him, according 
to Liu Hsiang, that ** ^3 Tseng Shen delivered the Tso 
Chuan, which had been entrusted to him by its author. l 
Now the fact that quotations from the Art of War, 
acknowledged or otherwise, are to be found in so many 
authors of different epochs, establishes a very strong 
probability that there was some common source anterior 
to them all, - - in other words, that Sun Tzu's treatise was 
already in existence towards the end of the 5 th century B. C. 
Further proof of Sun Tzu's antiquity is furnished by the 
archaic or wholly obsolete meanings attaching to a number 
of the words he uses. A list of these, which might perhaps 
be extended, is given in the Hsu Lu; and though some 
of the interpretations are doubtful, the main argument is 
hardly affected thereby. 3 Again, it must not be forgotten 
that Yeh Shui-hsin, a scholar and critic of the first rank, 
deliberately pronounces the style of the 13 chapters to 

either the substance or the actual words have been appropriated by early authors: 
VII. 9; IX. 175 I. 24 (l|k |g| jj|). IX. 23; IX. i, 3, 7; V. i; III. 18; XL 
58; VII. 31; VII. 24; VII. 26; IX. 15; IX. 4 (bis) (^ -^). III. 8; IV. 7 
(Itlf-7*) VII ^ I 95 v - I 4;in2(g|^^). III. 8; XL 2; I. 19; XI. 58; 
X. 10 & VI. I (U ^fti ' ^ wo ^ t ^ ie aDOve are gi ven as quotations). V. 13; 

IV ' 2 - IX - XI > I2 5 XI ' 30; I- 135 VII. 19 & IV. 7 ; VII. 32; 

VII. 25; IV. 20 & V. 23; IX. 43; V. 15; VII. 26; V. 4 & XI. 39; VIII. ii ; 

' See Legge's Classics, vol. V, Prolegomena p. 27. Legge thinks that the Tso 
Chuan must have been written in the 5th century, but .not before 424 B.C. 

2 The instances quoted are: III. 14, 15: ||J is said to be equivalent to || ; 

IL I5: M = K ; VIL 28: H - ,t ; XL 6o: ^ - 1 5 XL 2 4 ; the use 

of pj instead of g| (the later form); XI. 64: f^ = >^ ; IX. 3: ^g = ^; 
III. u: JJI and |ft^ antithetically opposed in the sense of ffiff ML and 
XL 6: =XI 


belong to the early part of the fifth century. Seeing that 
he is actually engaged in an attempt to disprove the 
existence of Sun Wu himself, we may be sure that he 
would not have hesitated to assign the work to a later 
date had he not honestly believed the contrary. And it 
is precisely on such a point that the judgment of an 
educated Chinaman will carry most weight. Other internal 
evidence is not far to seek. Thus, in XIII. i, there is 
an unmistakable allusion to the ancient system of land- 
tenure which had already passed away by the time ol 
Mencius, who was anxious to see it revived in a modified 
form. L The only warfare Sun Tzu knows is that carried 
on between the various feudal princes ( ^ ^ ), in which 
armoured chariots play a large part. Their use seems to 
have entirely died out before the end of the Chou dynasty. 
He speaks as a man of Wu, a state \vhich ceased to 
exist as early as 473 B. C. On this I shall touch presently. 
But once refer the work to the 5 th century or earlier, 
and the chances of its being other than a dona fide pro- 
duction are sensibly diminished. The great age of forgeries 
did not come until long after. That it should have been 
forged in the period immediately following 473 is parti- 
cularly unlikely, for no one, as a rule, hastens to identify 
himself with a lost cause. As for Yeh Shui-hsin's theory, 
that the author was a literary recluse, 3 that seems to me 
quite untenable. If one thing is more apparent than an- 
other after reading the maxims of Sun Tzu, it is that their 
essence has been distilled from a large store of personal 
observation and experience. They reflect the mind not 
only of a born strategist, gifted with a rare faculty of gene- 
ralisation, but also of a practical soldier closely acquainted 
with the military conditions of his time. To say nothing 

1 See Mencius III. I. iii. 13 20. 

2 | 1 j /|>fC |Jjl ~JT need not be pressed to mean an actual dweller in the 
mountains. I think it simply denotes a person living a retired life and standing 
aloof from public affairs. 


of the fact that these sayings have been accepted and 
endorsed by all the greatest captains of Chinese history, 
they offer a combination of freshness and sincerity, acute- 
ness and common sense, which quite excludes the idea 
that they were artificially concocted in the study. If we 
admit, then, that the 13 chapters were the genuine pro- 
duction of a military man living towards the end of the 
"Ch'un Ch4u" period, are we not bound, in spite of the 
silence of the Tso Chuan, to accept Ssu-ma Ch'ien's ac- 
count in its entirety? In view of his high repute as a 
sober historian, must we not hesitate to assume that the 
records he drew upon for Sun Wu's biography were false 
and untrustworthy? The answer, I fear, must be in the 
negative. There is still one grave, if not fatal, objection 
to the chronology involved in the story as told in the 
Shih Chi, which, so far as I am aware, nobody has yet 
pointed out. There are two passages in Sun Tzu in which he 
alludes to contemporary affairs. The first is in VI. 21: 

Though according to my estimate the soldiers of Yiieh exceed our own 
in number, that shall advantage them nothing in the matter of victory. 
I say then that victory can be achieved. 

The other is in XI. 30 : - 

Asked if an army can be made to imitate the shuai-jan, I should answer, 
Yes. For the men of Wu and the men of Yiieh are enemies; yet if they 
are crossing a river in the same boat and are caught by a storm, they 
will come to each other's assistance just as the left hand helps the right. 

These two paragraphs are extremely valuable as evidence 
of the date of composition. They assign the work to the 
period of the struggle between Wu and Yueh. So much 
has been observed by Pi I-hsun. But what has hitherto 
escaped notice is that they also seriously impair the cre- 
dibility of Ssu-ma Ch'ien's narrative. As we have seen 
above, the first positive date given in connection with 
Sun Wu is 5 1 2 B. C. He is then spoken of as a general, 
acting as confidential adviser to Ho Lu, so that his alleged 
introduction to that monarch had already taken place, 


and of course the 1 3 chapters must have been written 
earlier still. But at that time, and for several years after, 
down to the capture of Ying in 506, ^ Ch l u, and not 
Yiieh, was the great hereditary enemy of Wu. The two 
states, Ch'u and Wu, had been constantly at war for over 
half a century, 1 whereas the first war between Wu and 
Ylieh was waged only in 510, 2 and even then was no 
more than a short interlude sandwiched in the midst 01 
the fierce struggle with Ch'u. Now Ch'u is not mentioned 
in the 13 chapters at all. The natural inference is that 
they were written at a time when Ylieh had become the 
prime antagonist of Wu, that is, after Ch'u had suffered 
the great humiliation of 506. At this point, a table of 
dates may be found useful. 


5 12 


tween the two states. 




Accession of Ho Lu. 

Ho Lu attacks Ch'u, but is dissuaded from entering !g[$ Ying, the 

capital. Shih Chi mentions Sun Wu as general. 
Another attack on Ch'u. 
Wu makes a successful attack on Yiieh. This is the first war be- 

Ch'u invades Wu, but is signally defeated at J& jl^ Yii-chang. 
Ho Lu attacks Ch'u with the aid of T'ang and Ts'ai. Decisive 

battle of yjv^l Jljf; Po-chii, and capture of Ying. Last mention 

of Sun Wu in Shih Chi. 
Yiieh makes a raid on Wu in the absence of its army. Wu is 

beaten by Ch'in and evacuates Ying. 
Ho Lu sends 4 Fu Ch'ai to attack Ch'u. 


^J {j|| Kou Chien becomes King of Yiieh. 

Wu attacks Yiieh, but is defeated by Kou Chien at #|| ^ Tsui-li. 
Ho Lu is killed. 

1 When Wu first appears in the Ch'-un CWiu in 584, it is already at variance 
with its powerful neighbour. The Cfrun Ch'-iu first mentions Yiieh in 537, the 
Tso Chuan in 60 1. 

This is explicitly stated in the Tso Chuan, ft3 ^. XXXII, 2 : W J& >ffe 




and enters the capital of Yueh. 
485 ' 



Fu Ch'ai defeats Kou Chien in the great battle of $ Fu-chiao, 

Kou Chien renders homage to Wu. Death of Wu Tztt-hsu. 
Kou Chien invades Wu in the absence of Fu Ch'ai. 

47 Further attacks by Yueh on Wu. 


Kou Chien lays siege to the capital of Wu. 
Final defeat and extinction of Wu. 

The sentence quoted above from VI. 21 hardly strikes 
me as one that could have been written in the full flush 
of victory. It seems rather to imply that, for the moment 
at least, the tide had turned against Wu, and that she 
was getting the worst of the struggle. Hence we may 
conclude that our treatise was not in existence in 505, 
before which date Yueh does not appear to have scored 
any notable success against Wu. Ho Lu died in 496, so 
that if the book was written for him, it must have been 
during the period 505496, when there was a lull in the 
hostilities, Wu having presumably been exhausted by its 
supreme effort against Ch c u. On the other hand, if we 
choose to disregard the tradition connecting Sun Wu's name 
with Ho Lu, it might equally well have seen the light 
between 496 and 494, or possibly in the period 482473, 
when Yueh was once again becoming a very serious 
menace. l We may feel fairly certain that the author, 
whoever he may have been, was not a man of any great 
eminence in his own day. On this point the negative 
testimony of the Tso Chuan far outweighs any shred of 
authority still attaching to the Shih Chi, if once its other 
facts are discredited. Sun Hsing-yen, however, makes a 
feeble attempt to explain the omission of his name from 

1 There is this to be said for the later period, that the feud would tend to 
grow more bitter after each encounter, and thus more fully justify the language 
used in XI. 30. 


the great commentary. It was Wu Tzu-hsii, he says, 
who got all the credit of Sun Wu's exploits, because the 
latter (being an alien) was not rewarded with an office 
in the State. 1 

How then did the Sun Tzu legend originate? It may 
be that the growing celebrity of the book imparted by 
degrees a kind of factitious renown to its author. It was 
felt to be only right and proper that one so _weiL-yersed 
in thescience ojaar- should have solid achievements to 
his credit as well. Now the capture of Ying was un- 
doubtedly the greatest feat of arms in Ho Lu's reign ; it 
made a deep and lasting impression on all the surrounding 
states, and raised Wu to the short-lived zenith of her 
power. Hence, what more natural, as time went on, than 
that the acknowledged master of strategy, Sun Wu, should 
be popularly identified with that campaign, at first perhaps 
only in the sense that his brain conceived and planned 
it; afterwards, that it was actually carried out by him in 
conjunction with Wu Yuan, 3 Po P'ei and Fu Kai? 

It is obvious that any attempt to reconstruct even the 
outline of Sun Tzu's life must be based almost wholly on 
conjecture. With this necessary proviso, I should say that 
he probably entered the service of Wu about the time 
of Ho Lu's accession, and gathered experience, though 
only in the capacity of a subordinate officer, during the 
intense military activity which marked the first half of 
that prince's reign. 3 If he rose to be a general at all, 
he certainly was never on an equal footing with the three 

i See his preface to Sun Tzu: 

2 With Wu Yuan himself the case is just the reverse: a spurious treatise on 
war has been fathered on him simply because he was a great general. Here we 
have an obvious inducement to forgery. Sun Wu, on the other hand, cannot have 
been widely known to fame in the 5th century. 

3 See Tso Chuan, fc ^ , 4 th year (506), 14: g $J ^ [t|J $L ^ g* 

^ ^fC ^ 6Bf UFrom the date of Kin Cnao ' s accession [515] there was no 
year in which Ch'u was not attacked by Wu." 


above mentioned. He was doubtless present at the in- 
vestment and occupation of Ying, and witnessed Wu's 
sudden collapse in the following year. Ylieh's attack at 
this critical juncture, when her rival was embarrassed on 
every side, seems to have convinced him that this upstart 
kingdom was the great enemy against whom every effort 
would henceforth have to be directed. Sun Wu was thus 
a well-seasoned warrior when he sat down to write his 
famous book, which according to my reckoning must have 
appeared towards the end, rather than the beginning, ot 
Ho Lu's reign. The story of the women may possibly 
have grown out of some real incident occurring about the 
same time. As we hear no more of Sun Wu after this 
from any source, he is hardly likely to have survived his 
patron or to have taken part in the death-struggle with 
Ylieh, which began with the disaster at Tsui-li. 

If these inferences are approximately correct, there is 
a certain irony in the fate which decreed that China's 
most illustrious man of peace should be contemporary 
with her greatest writer on war. 


I have found it difficult to glean much about the history 
of Sun Tzu's text. The quotations that occur in early 
authors go to show that the "13 chapters" of which Ssu- 
ma Ch'ien speaks were essentially the same as those now 
extant. We have his word for it that they were widely 
circulated in his day, and can only regret that he refrained 
from discussing them on that account. 1 Sun Hsing-yen 
says in his preface: 

During the Ch'in and Han dynasties Sun Tzu's Art of War was in 

*^4. A ..- 7^^ """^ i"*""" " "^TT7"r~ .. X. 

mysterious import, and were unwillineMto ex 

1 See supra^ p. xx. 


the benefit of posterity. Thus it came about that Wei Wu was the first 
to write a commentary on it. ' 

As we have already seen, there is no reasonable ground 
to suppose that Ts'ao Kung tampered with the text. But 
the text itself is often so obscure, and the number of 
editions which appeared from that time onward so great, 
especially during the T'ang and Sung dynasties, that it 
would be surprising if numerous corruptions had not managed 
to creep in. Towards the middle of the Sung period, by 
which time all the chief commentaries on Sun Tzu were 
in existence, a certain ^ ^ ^ Chi T l ien-pao published 
a work in 15 chuan entitled -f- ^ $j> 3f* ^ "Sun Tzu 
with the collected commentaries of ten writers." 3 There 
was another text, with variant readings put forward by 
Chu Fu of ^ J|L Ta-hsing, 3 which also had supporters 
among the scholars of that period ; but in the Ming editions, 
Sun Hsing-yen tells us, these readings were for some 
reason or other no longer put into circulation. * Thus, 
until the end of the i8 th century, the text in sole pos- 
session of the field was one derived from Chi T'ien-pao's 
edition, although no actual copy of that important work 
was known to have surrived. That, therefore, is the text 
of Sun Tzu which appears in the War section of the great 
Imperial encyclopaedia printed in 1726, the ~j!t ^f*" HO 1* 
^H jfc fat Chin T'u Shu Chi Ch'eng. Another copy at 
my disposal of what is practically the same text, with 
slight variations, is that contained in the ^ ffs; -j- ^ 
"Eleven philosophers of the Chou and Ch'in dynasties" 

a # ffl ^ ir 

2S %&%& 

3 Alluded to on p. xvii, note 3* 


[1758]. And the Chinese printed in Capt. Calthrop's first 
edition is evidently a similar version which has filtered 
through Japanese channels. So things remained until 
M t/T Sun Hsing-yen [1752-1818], a distinguished 
antiquarian and classical scholar, l who claimed to be an 
actual descendant of Sun Wu, 2 accidentally discovered a 
copy of Chi T'ien-pao's long-lost work, when on a visit 
to the library of the p $& Hua-yin temple. 3 Appended 
to it was the ^ jjfc / Skno of J|$ ji^ Cheng Yu-hsien, 
mentioned in the T^ung Chih, and also believed to have 
perished. 4 This is what Sun Hsing-yen designates as the 
"j^f ^5C or Jg( ^ "original edition (or text)" a rather 
misleading name, for it cannot by any means claim to 
set before us the text of Sun Tzu in its pristine purity. 
Chi T'ien-pao was a careless compiler, 6 and appears to 
have been content to reproduce the somewhat debased 
version current in his day, without troubling to collate it 

1 A good biographical notice, with a list of his works, will be found in the 

H $J It A H Sfr> ch - 8 > to 

Preface * /,,, 

y\^ -Jjjj "My family comes from Lo-an, and we are really descended from Sun 
Tztt. I am ashamed to say that I only read my ancestor's work from a literary 
point of view, without comprehending the military technique. So long have we 
been enjoying the blessings of peace!" 

3 Hua-yin is about 14 miles from yjj| ^ T'ung-kuan on the eastern border of 
Shensi. The temple in question is still visited by those about to make the ascent 
of the 3p [Jj or Western Sacred Mountain. It is mentioned in the ~fc HH 

, ch. 32, f. 22, as the : - 

% ^ -Ji jfe ^ J^ If ' 41-111 asituated five 

east of the district city of Hua-yin. The temple contains the Hua-shan tablet in 
scribed by the T'ang Emperor Hsiian Tsuncr [713755] " 

5 Cf. Sua Hsing-yen's remark h frapos of his mistakes in the names and order 
of the commentators: * 


with the earliest editions then available. Fortunately, two 
versions of Sun Tzu, even older than the newly discovered 
work, were still extant, one buried in the T'ung Tien, 
Tu Yu's great treatise on the Constitution, the other 
similarly enshrined in the T^ai P'ing Yii Lan encyclo- 
paedia. In both the complete text is to be found, though 
split up into fragments, intermixed with other matter, and 
scattered piecemeal over a number of different sections. 
Considering that the Yu^Lan takes us back to the year 
983, and the T'ung Tien about 200 years further still, 
to the irii^J^_of^hje_J. t _aii^_jlyna^^ ', the value of these 
early transcripts of Sun Tzu can hardly be overestimated. 
Yet the idea of utilising them does not seem to have oc- 
curred to anyone until Sun Hsing-yen, acting under Govern- 
ment instructions, undertook a thorough recension of the 
text. This is his own account : 

Because of the numerous mistakes in the text of Sun Tzu which his 
editors had handed down, the Government ordered that the ancient edition 
[of Chi T'ien-pao] should be used, and that the text should be revised 
and corrected throughout. It happened that Wu Nien-hu, the Governor 
Pi Kua, and Hsi, a graduate of the second degree, had all devoted them- 
selves to this study, probably surpassing me therein. Accordingly, I have 
had the whole work cut on blocks as a text-book for military men. l 

The three individuals here referred to had evidently 
been occupied on the text of Sun Tzu prior to Sun Hsing- 
yen's commission, but we are left in doubt as to the work 
they really accomplished. At any rate, the new edition, 
when ultimately produced, appeared in the names of Sun 
Hsing-yen and only one co-editor, J^ J{ tjjj[ Wu Jen-chi. 
They took the "original text" as their basis, and by careful 
comparison with the older versions, as well as the extant 
commentaries and other sources of information such as 



the / Shuo, succeeded in restoring a very large number 
of doubtful passages, and turned out, on the whole, what 
must be accepted as the closest approximation we are 
ever likely to get to Sun Tzu's original work. This is 
what will hereafter be denominated the "standard text." 

The copy which I have used belongs to a re-issue dated 
1877. It is in 6 pen, forming part of a well-printed set 
of 23 early philosophical works in 83 pen. 1 It opens with 
a preface by Sun Hsing-yen (largely quoted in this intro- 
duction), vindicating the traditional view of Sun Tzu's life 
and performances, and summing up in remarkably concise 
fashion the evidence in its favour. This is followed by 
Ts'ao Kung's preface to his edition, and the biography 
of Sun Tzu from the Shih Chi, both translated above. 
Then come, firstly, Cheng Yu-hsien's I Shuo, 3 with author's 
preface, and next, a short miscellany of historical and 
bibliographical information entitled ^ -^ ^ ^ Sun Tzu 
Hsu Lu, compiled by ||f. J( 3] Pi I-hsiin. As regards 
the body of the work, each separate sentence is followed 
by a note on the text, if required, and then by the various 
commentaries appertaining to it, arranged in chronological 
order. These we shall now proceed to discuss briefly, 
one by one. 


Sun Tzu can boast an exceptionally long and distinguished 

roll of commentators, which would do honour to any classic. 

Hfc 87 ^ Ou-yang Hsiu remarks on this fact, though he 

wrote before the tale was complete, and rather ingeniously 

explains it by saying that the artifices of war, being in- 

1 See my "Catalogue of Chinese Books" (Luzac & Co., 1908), no. 40. 

This is a discussion of 29 difficult passages in Sun Tzti, namely: I. 2; 26; 
16; II. 9 & 105 III. 3; HI & VII; III. 17; IV. 4; 6; V. 3; 10 & n; 14; the 
headings of the 13 chapters, with special reference to chap. VII; VII. 5; 15 & 16; 
27; 33, & c .; VIII. 1-6; IX. n; X. 1-20; XI. 23; 31; 19; 43; VII. 12-14 & XI. 
52; XI. 56; XIII. 15 & 16; 26; XIII in general. 


exhaustible, must therefore be susceptible of treatment in 
a great variety of ways. l 

1 W ^ Ts'ao Ts'ao or ~f ^ Ts'ao Kung, afterwards 
known as ^ j ffi Wei Wu Ti [A.D. 155-220]. There 
is hardly any room for doubt that the earliest commentary 
on Sun Tzu actually came from the pen of this extra- 
ordinary man, whose biography in the San fato Chih 3 
reads like a romance. One of the greatest military geniuses- 
that the world has seen, and Napoleonic in the scale of 
his operations, he was especially famed for the marvellous 
rapidity of his marches, which has found expression in the 
line m 1" & W II fc PI "^Ik of Ts'ao Ts'ao, and 
Ts'ao Ts'ao will appear." Ou-yang Hsiu says of him that 
he was a great captain who "measured his strength against 
Tung Cho, Lu Pu and the two Yuan, father and son, 
and vanquished them all ; whereupon he divided the Empire 
of Han with Wu and Shu, and made himself king. It is 
recorded that whenever a council of war was held by 
Wei on the eve of a far-reaching campaign, he had all 
his calculations ready, those generals who made use of 
them did not lose one battle in ten ; those who ran counter 
to them in any particular saw their armies incontinently 
beaten and put to flight." 3 Ts'ao Kung's notes on Sun 
Tzu, models of austere brevity, are so thoroughly charac- 
teristic of the stern commander known to history, that it 
is hard indeed to conceive of them as the work of a mere 
litterateur. Sometimes, indeed, owing to extreme com- 

Preface to Mei Yao-ch'en's edition: ^ 

~ tin M^ 

s See ch. 


pression, they are scarcely intelligible and stand no less 
in need of a commentary than the text itself. 1 As we 
have seen, Ts'ao Rung is the reputed author of the ffi fj, 
a book on war in 100,000 odd words, now lost, but 
mentioned in the ||| ^ . 3 

2 - InL J^t Meng Shih. The commentary which has come 
down to us under this name is comparatively meagre, and 
nothing about the author is known. Even his personal name 
has not been recorded. Chi T'ien-pao's edition places him 
after Chia Lin, and f 4^ 3l Ch'ao Kung-wu also assigns 
him to the T'ang dynasty, 3 but this is obviously a mistake, 
as his work is mentioned in the |^ |J |g | ^ . In Sun 
Hsing-yen's preface, he appears as Meng Shih of the Liang 
dynasty [502557]. Others would identify him with ^ |f 
Meng K'ang of the 3 rd century. In the ^ jjj J| 
he is named last of the 3 ^ "Five Commentators 
the others being Wei Wu Ti, Tu Mu, Ch'en Hao and 
Chia Lin. 

3. ^ ^ Li Ch'iian of the 8 th century was a well- 
known writer on military tactics. His -fc E=J (^ $ nas 
been in constant use down to the present day. The JH ^ 
mentions ^ #[ ^ ^ (lives of famous generals from the 
Chou to the T'ang dynasty) as written by him. 5 He is 
also generally supposed to be the real author of the popular 
Taoist tract, the |^ ^f $g. According to Ch'ao Kung-wu 
and the T'ien-i-ko catalogue, 6 he followed the ^ u ^g ^ 
text of Sun Tzu, which differs considerably from those 


Catalogue of the library of the Fan 

family at Ningpo, - , fol. I2 ^ : ^ | ^ (g ^ ^| fig ^ ^ 

"His commentary is frequently obscure 5 it furnishes a clue, but does not fully 
develop the meaning." 2 See ^g yjj , ch. 141 ad init. 

3 ^F^w Hsien T'-ung K^ao^ ch. 221, f. 9^. 4 Ch. 207, f. 5 r. 

5 It is interesting to note that M. Pelliot has recently discovered chapters i, 4 
and 5 of this lost work in the "Grottos of the Thousand Buddhas." See B. E. F. E. O, 
t. VIII, nos. 34, p. 525. 6 LoCt ci t. 


now extant. His notes are mostly short and to the point, 
and he frequently illustrates his remarks by anecdotes 
from Chinese history. 

4. ti'fe Tu Yu O^ed 8l2 ) did n t publish a separate 
commentary on Sun Tzu, his notes being taken from the 
T^ung Tien, the encyclopaedic treatise on the Constitution 
which was his life-work. They are largely repetitions of 
Ts'ao Kung and Meng Shih, besides which it is believed 
that he drew on the ancient commentaries of ^ ^ Wang 
Ling and others. Owing to the peculiar arrangement of 
the T^ung Tien, he has to explain each passage on its 
merits, apart from the context, and sometimes his own 
explanation does not agree with that of Ts'ao Kung, 
whom he always quotes first. Though not strictly to be 
reckoned as one of the "Ten Commentators," he was 
added to their number by Chi T'ien-pao, being wrongly 
placed after his grandson Tu Mu. 

5- ti$C Tu M U (803-852) is perhaps best known as 
a poet a bright star even in the glorious galaxy of 
the T'ang period. We learn from Ch'ao Kung-wu that 
although he had no practical experience of war, he was 
extremely fond of discussing the subject, and was more- 
over well read in the military history of the Cfcun Ck'iu 
and Chan Kuo eras. l His notes, therefore, are well worth 
attention. They are very copious, and replete with historical 
parallels. The gist of Sun Tzu's work is thus summarised 
by him: "Practise benevolence and justice, but on the 
other hand make full use of artifice and measures of ex- 
pediency." 3 He further declared that all the military 

i Wen Hsien T^ung K^ao, ch. 221, f . 9 : {ft f | >$ $fr ffi ^ g |& 

2 Preface to his commentary (T<-u Shu, j J& , ch. 442): 


triumphs and disasters of the thousand years which had 
elapsed since Sun Wu's death would, upon examination, 
be found to uphold and corroborate, in every particular, 
the maxims contained in his book. : Tu Mu's somewhat 
spiteful charge against Ts'ao Kung has already been con- 
sidered elsewhere. 

6- $jt (}!| Ch'en Hao appears to have been a contemp- 
orary of Tu Mu. Ch'ao Kung-wu says that he was im- 
pelled to write a new commentary on Sun Tzu because 
Ts'ao Kung's on the one hand was too obscure and subtle, 
and that of Tu Mu on the other too long-winded and 
diffuse. 2 Ou-yang Hsiu, writing in the middle of the n th 
century, calls Ts'ao Kung, Tu Mu and Ch'en Hao the 
three chief commentators on Sun Tzu (5Ei ^), and observes 
that Ch'en Hao is continually attacking Tu Mu's short- 
comings. His commentary, though not lacking in merit, 
must rank below those of his predecessors. 

7- W ffi Chia Lin is known to have lived under the 
T'ang dynasty, for his commentary on Sun Tzu is men- 
tioned in the jfijf ^ and was afterwards republished by 
$ HJ Chi Hsieh of the same dynasty together with those 
of Meng Shih and Tu Yu. 3 It is of somewhat scanty 
texture, and in point of quality, too, perhaps the least 
valuable of the eleven. 

8 - $1 Jl E Mei Yao-ch'en (1002-1060), commonly 
known by his "style" as Mei H -$ Sheng-yu, was, like 
1 u Mu, a poet of distinction. His commentary was pub- 
lished with a laudatory preface by the great Ou-yang 
Hsiu, from which we may cull the following: - 

Later scholars have misread Sun Tzu, distorting his words and trying 
to make them square with their own one-sided views. Thus, though 

1 **' & ft'% # ft ? A4M* $ jft*f |ft 

* #l ttc 


commentators have not been lacking, only a few have proved equal to 
the task. My friend Sheng-yu has not fallen into this mistake. In at- 
tempting to provide a critical commentary for Sun Tzu's "work, he does 
not lose sight of the fact that these sayings were intended for states en- 
gaged in internecine warfare; that the author is not concerned with the 
military conditions prevailing under the sovereigns of the three ancient 
dynasties, ' nor with the nine punitive measures prescribed to the Minister 
of War. 2 Again, Sun Wu loved brevity of diction, but his meaning is 
always deep. Whether the subject be marching an army, or handling 
soldiers, or estimating the enemy, or controlling the forces of victory, it 
is always systematically treated; the sayings are bound together in strict 
logical sequence, though this has been obscured by commentators who 
have probably failed to grasp their meaning. In his own commentary, 
Mei Sheng-yu has brushed aside all the obstinate prejudices of these 
critics, and has tried to bring out the true meaning of Sun Tzu himself. 
In this way, the clouds of confusion have been dispersed and the sayings 
made clear. I am convinced that the present work deserves to be handed 
down side by side with the three great commentaries; and for a great 
deal that they find in the sayings, coming generations will have constant 
reason to thank my friend Sheng-yu. 3 

Making some allowance for the exuberance of friendship, 
I am inclined to endorse this favourable judgment, and 
would certainly place him above Ch'en Hao in order 
of merit. 

1 The Hsia, the Shang and the Chou. Although the last-named was nominally 
existent in Sun Tzii's day, it retained hardly a vestige of power, and the old mili- 
tary organisation had practically gone by the board. I can suggest no other ex- 
planation of the passage. 

2 See Chou Li, XXIX. 6-10. 

see r s*., r m, ch. 9 o, f. ,. 


9- 3E 1=[ Wang Hsi, also of the Sung dynasty, is 
decidedly original in some of his interpretations, but much 
less judicious than Mei Yao-ch'en, and on the whole not 
a very trustworthy guide. He is fond of comparing his 
own commentary with that of Ts'ao Kung, but the com- 
parison is not often flattering to him. We learn from 
Ch'ao Kung-wu that Wang Hsi revised the ancient text 
of Sun Tzu, filling up lacunae and correcting mistakes. l 

10. '(of $& $$9 Ho Yen-hsi of the Sung dynasty. The 
personal name of this commentator is given as above by 
JfU jftj. Cheng Ch'iao in the T'ung Chih, written about 
the middle of the twelfth century, but he appears simply 
as 'fof J^ Ho Shih in the Yu Hai, and Ma Tuan-lin quotes 
Ch'ao Kung-wu as saying that his personal name is un- 
known. There seems to be no reason to doubt Cheng 
Ch'iao's statement, otherwise I should have been inclined 
to hazard a guess and identify him with one y fBf -^ ^ 
Ho Ch'u-fei, the author of a short treatise on war entitled 
'Off ffjjjf, who lived in the latter part of the n th century. 2 
Ho Shih's commentary, in the words of the T'ien-i-ko 
catalogue, ^ fff ^L j "contains helpful additions" here 
and there, but is chiefly remarkable for the copious ex- 
tracts taken, in adapted form, from the dynastic histories 
and other sources. 

1 1 - 11 Bl Chang Yii. The list closes with a com- 
mentator of no great originality perhaps, but gifted with 
admirable powers of lucid exposition. His commentary is 
based on that of Ts'ao Kung, whose terse sentences he 
contrives to expand and develop in masterly fashion. 
Without Chang Yu, it is safe to say that much of Ts l ao 
Kung's commentary would have remained cloaked in its 
pristine obscurity and therefore valueless. His work is 
not mentioned in the Sung history, the T'ung K'ao, or 


See |HJ Jjjl m, ch. 99, f. 


the Yu Hai, but it finds a niche in the T'ung Chih, 
which also names him as the author of the ^j $$ *$$ 
"Lives of Famous Generals." l 

It is rather remarkable that the last-named four should 
all have flourished within so short a space of time. Ch'ao 
Kung-wu accounts for it by saying: "During the early 
years of the Sung dynasty the Empire enjoyed a long 
spell of peace, and men ceased to practise the art of war. 
But when [Chao] Yiian-hao's rebellion came [1038-42] 
and the frontier generals were defeated time after time, 
the Court made strenuous enquiry for men skilled in war, 
and military topics became the vogue amongst all the high 
officials. Hence it is that the commentators of Sun Tzu 
in our dynasty belong mainly to that period." ' 

Besides these eleven commentators, there are several 
others whose work has not come down to us. The Sui 
Shu mentions four, namely /|| Wang Ling (often quoted 
by Tu Yu as J -J-); ijg -^ $j$ Chang Tzu-shang; f|f ffj 
Chia Hsu of Ut Wei-, 3 and # Shen Yu of ^ Wu. 
The T^ang Shu adds $fc ^ Sun Hao, and the T^ing Chih 
jjlf =* Hsiao Chi, while the T'u Shu mentions a Ming 
commentator, ^ }|ij 3 Huang Jun-yii. It is possible that 
some of these may have been merely collectors and editors 
of other commentaries, like Chi T ; ien-pao and Chi Hsieh, 
mentioned above. Certainly in the case of the latter, the 
entry ${* ^ xi J ^ m tne T^ung K'ao, without the fol- 
lowing note, would give one to understand that he had 
written an independent commentary of his own. 

There are two works, described in the Ssu K'u Ch'uan 

1 This appears to be still extant. See Wylie's "Notes," p. 91 (new edition). 
T**g A-X he. ci,.: fc J|j ^ ^ ^ ^ # T A ^ ^ ^ 

3 A notable person in his day. His biography is given in the San Kuo Chih^ ch. 10. 


Shu l and no doubt extremely rare, which I should much 
like to have seen. One is entitled $fa ^ j^ |5f , in 5 chuan. 
It gives selections from four new commentators, probably 
of the Ming dynasty, as well as from the eleven known to 
us. The names of the four are $$ jf; Hsieh Yuan ; ^ ||| 
Chang Ao; 2$5 ^ Li Ts l ai; and ^ yg \ ^ Huang Chih- 
cheng. The other work is ^ -^ f|| f|fc in 4 chuan, compiled 
by J|[$ ^ Cheng Tuan of the present dynasty. It is a com- 
pendium of information on ancient warfare, with special 
reference to Sun Tzu's 1 3 chapters. 


Sun Tzu has exercised a potent fascination over the 
minds of some of China's greatest men. Among the famous 
generals who are known to have studied his pages with 
enthusiasm may be mentioned ^ {=f Han Hsin (d. B.C. 
I96), 2 ay| Feng I (d. A.D. 34), 3 g || Lu Meng 
(d. 219), 4 and -gj- ^ Yo Fei (i 103-1 141). 5 The opinion 
of Ts'ao Kung, "wHo~ disputes with Han Hsin the highest 
place in Chinese military annals, has already been recorded. 6 
Still more remarkable, in one way, is the testimony of 
purely literary men, such as ^ ^J Su Hsiin (the father 
of Su Tung-p'o), who wrote several essays on military 
topics, all of which owe their chief inspiration to Sun Tzu. 
The following short passage by him is preserved in the 
Yu Hai: 1 

1 Ch. ioo, ff. 2, 3. 2 see p. 144. 3 Hou Han S/iu, ch. 17 ad init. 

4 San Kuo Chih^ ch. 54, f. ioz/ (commentary). 
6 Sung Shih, ch. 365 ad init. 

The few Europeans who have yet had an opportunity of acquainting themselves 
with Sun Tzti are not behindhand in their praise. In this connection, I may per- 
haps be excused for quoting from a letter from Lord Roberts, to whom the sheets 
of the present work were submitted previous to publication: "Many of Sun Wu's 
maxims are perfectly applicable to the present day, and no. 1 1 on page 77 is one 
that the people of this country would do well to take to heart " 

1 Ch. 140, f. 13^. 


Sun Wu's saying, that in war one cannot make certain of conquering, * 
is very different indeed from what other books tell us. 2 Wu Ch'i was a 
man of the same stamp as Sun Wu: they both wrote books on war, and 
they are linked together in popular speech as "Sun and Wu." But Wu 
Ch'i's remarks on war are less weighty, his rules are rougher and more 
crudely stated, and there is not the same unity of plan as in Sun 
work, wherej:he style is terse,but themeaning fully brought out 

The ^ ^| fH 3?|, ch. 17, contains the following extract 
from the 5| pf] ffi ^ "Impartial Judgments in the Garden 
of Literature" by Jf|$ j|* Cheng Hou : - 

Sun Tzu's 13 chapters are not only the staple and base of all military 
men's training, but also compel the most careful attention of scholars and 
men of letters. His sayings are terse yet elegant, simple yet profound, 
perspicuous and eminently practical. Such works as the Lun Yu, the 
/ Ching and the great Commentary, 4 as well as the writings of Mencius, 
Hsiin K'uang and Yang Chu, all fall below the level of Sun Tzu. 5 

Chu Hsi, commenting on this, fully admits the first 
part of the criticism, although he dislikes the audacious 
comparison with the venerated classical works. Language 
of this sort, he says, "encourages a ruler's bent towards 
unrelenting warfare and reckless militarism." 6 


Accustomed as we are to think of China as the greatest 
peace-loving nation on earth, we are in some danger of 

1 See IV. 3. 

2 The allusion may be to Mencius VI. 2. ix. 2 : 

4 The Tso Chuan. 

m m % ro * in ffi w JB m 


forgetting that her experience of war in all its phases has 
also been such as no modern State can parallel. Her 
long military annals stretch back to a point at which they 
are lost in the mists of time. She had built the Great 
Wall and was maintaining a huge standing army along 
her frontier centuries before the first Roman legionary 
was seen on the Danube. What with the perpetual col- 
lisions of the ancient feudal States, the grim conflicts with 
Huns, Turks and other invaders after the centralisation of 
government, the terrific upheavals which accompanied the 
overthrow of so many dynasties, besides the countless 
rebellions and minor disturbances that have flamed up and 
flickered out again one by one, it is hardly too much to 
say that the clash of arms has never ceased to resound 
in one portion or another of the Empire. 

No less remarkable is the succession of illustrious cap- 
tains to whom China can point with pride. As in all 
countries, the greatest are found emerging at the most 
fateful crises of her history. Thus, Po Ch'i stands out 
conspicuous in the period when Ch'in was entering upon 
her final struggle with the remaining independent states. 
The stormy years which followed the break-up of the Ch'in 
dynasty are illumined by the transcendent genius of Han 
Hsin. When the House of Han in turn is tottering to 
its fall, the great and baleful figure of Ts'ao Ts'ao do- 
minates the scene. And in the establishment of the Pang 
dynasty, one of the mightiest tasks achieved by man, the 
superhuman energy of Li Shih-min (afterwards the Emperor 
T'ai Tsung) was seconded by the brilliant strategy of Li 
Ching. None of these generals need fear comparison with 
the greatest names in the military history of Europe. 

In spite of all this, the great body of Chinese sentiment, 
from Lao Tzu downwards, and especially as reflected in 
the standard literature of Confucianism, has been consistently 
pacific and intensely opposed to militarism in any form. 
It is such an uncommon thing to find any of the literati 


defending warfare on principle, that I have thought it 
worth while to collect and translate a few passages in 
which the unorthodox view is upheld. The following, by 
Ssu-ma Ch'ien, shows that for all his ardent admiration of 
Confucius, he was yet no advocate of peace at any price : - 

Military weapons are the means used by the Sage to punish violence 
and cruelty, to give peace to troublous times, to remove difficulties and 
dangers, and to succour those who are in peril. Every animal with blood 
in its veins and horns on its head will fight when it is attacked. How 
much more so will man, who carries in his breast the faculties of love 
and hatred, joy and anger! When he is pleased, a feeling of affection 
springs up within him; when angry, his poisoned sting is brought into 
play. That is the natural law which governs his being .... What then 
shall be said of those scholars of our time, blind to all great issues, and 
without any appreciation of relative values, who can only bark out their 
stale formulas about "virtue" and "civilisation," condemning the use of 
military weapons? They will surely bring our country to impotence and 
dishonour and the loss of her rightful heritage; or, at the very least, 
they will bring about invasion and rebellion, sacrifice of territory and 
general enfeeblement. Yet they obstinately refuse to modify the position 
they have taken up. The truth is that, just as in the family the teacher 
must not spare the rod, and punishments cannot be dispensed with in the 
State, so military chastisement can never be allowed to fall into abeyance 
in the Empire. All one can say is that this power will be exercised 
wisely by some, foolishly by others, and that among those who bear arms 
some will be loyal and others rebellious. * 

The next piece is taken from Tu Mu's preface to his 
commentary on Sun Tzu : - 

War may be defined as punishment, which is one of the functions of 
government. It was the profession of Chung Yu and Jan Ch'iu, both 

1 Shih Chi, ch. 25, fol. i: 

itt m nfr a fc & % g 

& z 


disciples of- Confucius. Nowadays, the holding of trials and hearing of 
litigation, the imprisonment of offenders and their execution by flogging 
in the market-place, are all done by officials. But the wielding of huge 
armies, the throwing down of fortified cities, the haling of women and 
children into captivity, and the beheading of traitors - this is also work 
which is done by officials. The objects of the rack * and of military 
weapons are essentially the same. There is no intrinsic difference be- 
tween the punishment of flogging and cutting off heads in war. For the 
lesser infractions of law, which are easily dealt with, only a small amount 
of force need be employed : hence the institution of torture and flogging. 
For more serious outbreaks of lawlessness, which are hard to suppress, a 
greater amount of force is necessary: hence the use of military weapons 
and wholesale decapitation. In both cases, however, the end in view is 
to get rid of wicked people, and to give comfort and relief to the good 2 . . . . 

Chi-sun a,sked Jan Yu, saying: "Have you. Sir, acquired your military 
aptitude by study, or is it innate?" Jan Yu replied: "It has been ac- 
quired by study." 3 "How can that be so," said Chi-sun, "seeing that 
you are a disciple of Confucius?" "It is a fact," replied Jan Yu; "I was 
taught by Confucius. It is fitting that the great Sage should exercise 
both civil and military functions, though to be sure my instruction in the 
art of fighting has not yet gone very far." 

Now, who the author was of this rigid distinction between the "civil" 
and the "military," and the limitation of each to a separate sphere of 
action, or in what year of which dynasty it was first introduced, is more 
than I can say. But, at any rate, it has come about that the members 
of the governing class are quite afraid of enlarging on military topics, or 
do so only in a shamefaced manner. If any are bold enough to discuss 
the subject, they are at once set down as eccentric individuals of coarse 
and brutal propensities. This is an extraordinary instance of the way in 

1 The first instance of ^fc ^^ given in the P'-'ei Wen Yun Fu is from Ssu-ma 
Ch'ien's letter to 'fjj- 4^ Jen An (see AJT vjg ? cn . 41, f. 9 r), where M. Chavannes 
translates it "la cangue et la chaine." But in the present passage it seems rather 
to indicate some single instrument of torture. 

3 Cf. SAIA Chi, ch. 47, f. ii 


which, through sheer lack of reasoning, men unhappily lose sight of fun- 
damental principles. l 

When the Duke of Chou was minister under Ch'eng Wang, he regulated 
ceremonies and made music, and venerated the arts of scholarship and 
learning; yet when the barbarians of the River Huai revolted, 2 he sal- 
lied forth and chastised them. When Confucius held office under the 
Duke of Lu, and a meeting was convened at Chia-ku, 3 he said : "If 
pacific negotiations are in progress, warlike preparations should have been 
made beforehand." He rebuked and shamed the Marquis of Ch'i, who 
cowered under him and dared not proceed to violence. How can it be 
said that these two great Sages had no knowledge of military matters? * 

We have seen that the great Chu Hsi held Sun Tzu 
in high esteem. He also appeals to the authority of the 
Classics : - 

Our Master Confucius, answering Duke Ling of Wei, said: "I have 
never studied matters connected with armies and battalions." 5 Replying 
to K'ung Wen-tzu, he said: "I have not been instructed about buff-coats 
and weapons." 6 But if we turn to the meeting at Chia-ku, 7 we find 
that he used armed force against the men of Lai, 8 so that the marquis 
of Ch'i was overawed. Again, when the inhabitants of Pi revolted, he 
ordered his officers to attack them, whereupon they were defeated and 
fled in confusion. 9 He once uttered the words : "If I fight, I con- 

* ?i ? li * ft # 

tr * * * m ift Sf- 

2 See Shti Ching^ preface 55. 

3 See Tso Chuan, Jj ^ X. 2 ; Shih Chi, ch. 47, f. 4 r 

4 J3 * # JA BE 

Lun KB, XV. i. 

6 Tso Chuan^ j ^. , XI. 7. 7 See supra. 

8 Tso Chuan, X. 2. 9 Ibid. XII. 5; CA*Vz K i ch - 


quer." * And Jan Yu also said : "The Sage exercises both civil and mil- 
itary functions." 2 Can it be a fact that Confucius never studied or 
received instruction in the art of war? We can only say that he did not 
specially choose matters connected with armies and fighting to be the 
subject of his teaching. 3 

Sun Hsing-yen, the editor of Sun Tzu, writes in similar 
strain : 

Confucius said: "I am unversed in military matters." * He also said: 
"If I fight, I conquer." * Confucius ordered ceremonies and regulated 
music. Now war constitutes one of the five classes of State ceremonial, 5 
and must not be treated as an independent branch of study. Hence, 
the words "I am unversed in" must be taken to mean that there are 
things which even an inspired Teacher does not know. Those who have 
to lead an army and devise stratagems, must learn the art of war. But 
if one can command the services of a good general like Sun Tzu, who 
was employed by Wu Tzti-hsu, there is no need to learn it oneself. 
Hence the remark added by Confucius : "If I fight, I conquer." 6 

The men of the present day, however, wilfully interpret these words 
of Confucius in their narrowest sense, as though he meant that books on 
the art of war were not worth reading. With blind persistency, they 
adduce the example of Chao Kua, who pored over his father's books to 
no purpose, 7 as a proof that all military theory is useless. Again, seeing 

1 have failed to trace this utterance. See note 2 on p. xliii. 

2 See supra. 

- IN & m m A ffi m & ti ft A z 

ft M 6 ff ft HB ftA ft 1? B.3U M & 

* See supra. 

5 Vh., Epf jjjg , the other four being "=jy , |X| , !jj| and J| "worship, 
mourning, entertainment of guests and festive rites." See Shu Ching, II. I. iii. 8, 
and Chou Li, IX. fol. 49. 

Preface to Sun Tzu: ^^.g^^^^^^^^^ 

E m & m s. m z - ^ M 

See p. 166. 


that books on war have to do with such things as opportunism in design- 
ing plans, and the conversion of spies, they hold that the art is immoral 
and unworthy of a sage. These people ignore the fact that the studies 
of our scholars and the civil administration of our officials also require 
steady application and practice before efficiency is reached. The ancients 
were particularly chary of allowing mere novices to botch their work. l 
Weapons are baneful 2 and fighting perilous: and unless a general is in 
constant practice, he ought not to hazard other men's lives in battle. 3 
Hence it is essential that Sun Tzu's 13 chapters should be studied. * 

Hsiang Liang used to instruct his nephew Chi 5 in the art of war. 
Chi got a rough idea of the art in its general bearings, but would not 
pursue his studies to their proper outcome, the consequence being that 
he was finally defeated and overthrown. He did not realise that the 
tricks and artifices of war are beyond verbal computation. Duke Hsiang 
of Sung G and King Yen of Hsu 7 were brought to destruction by their 
misplaced humanity. The treacherous and underhand nature of war 
necessitates the use of guile and stratagem suited to the occasion. There 
is a case on record of Confucius himself having violated an extorted 
oath, 8 and also of his having left the Sung State in disguise. 9 Can we 
then recklessly arraign Sun Tzu for disregarding truth and honesty? 10 

1 This is a rather obscure allusion to Tso Chuan, ^tQ fl<* , XXXI. 4, where 

>^c -*-^ 

Tzu-ch^an says: ^ ^ E^ ^ ^ |jg ^ ^ JJL || "If you have a piece 
of beautiful brocade, you will not employ a mere learner to make it up." 
* Cf. Too Te Ching, ch. 31: & % ^ f $$ . 

3 Sun Hsing-yen might have quoted Confucius again. See Lun Yu, XIII. 29, 30. 


5 Better known as Hsiang ^j Yii [B.C. 233-202]. 

6 The third among the ^ 4t\ (or tfH) enumerated on p. 141. For the in- 

* I r-l -^Jyv 

cident referred to, see Tso Chuan, 4&L /fe , XXII. 4. 

7 See supra, p. xvi, note 4. 8 Shih Chi, ch. 47, f. 7 r. 

9 Ibid., ch. 38, f. 8z>. 

10 ig ^ ^5, m ft fch 43 



The following are the oldest Chinese treatises on war, 
after Sun Tzu. The notes on each have been drawn 
principally from the jj ^ fgj ^ g ^ Stf # 
ch'uan shu chien ming mu lu, ch. 9, fol. 22 sqq. 

1 . -^ -^ Wu Tzu, in i chuan or 6 ^ chapters. By ^ 
^g Wu Ch'i (df. B.C. 381). A genuine work. See Shih 
Chi, ch. 65. 

2. Hj ,lf ^ Ssu-ma Fa, in i chuan or 5 chapters. 
Wrongly attributed to fjf) J| fj| | Ssu-ma Jang-chu of 
the 6 th century B.C. Its date, however, must be early, 
as the customs of the three ancient dynasties are con- 
stantly to be met with in its pages. * See Shih Chi, ch. 64. 

The Ssu K^u Ch'uan Shu (ch. 99, f. i) remarks that 
the oldest three treatises on war, Sun Tzu, Wu Tzu and 
the Ssu-ma Fa, are, generally speaking, only concerned 
with things strictly military - - the art of producing, col- 
lecting, training and drilling troops, and the correct theory 
with regard to measures of expediency, laying plans, trans- 
port of goods and the handling of soldiers 2 - - in strong 
contrast to later works, in which the science of war is 
usually blended with metaphysics, divination and magical 
arts in general. 

3- ^ @ Liu T'ao, in 6 chuan or 60 chapters. At- 
tributed to g H Lii Wang (or Lii ^ Shang, also 

known as ^ /^ T'ai Kung) of the 1 2 th century B.C. 3 But 

3 See p. 174. Further details on T'ai Kung will be found in the Shih Chi, 
ch. 32 ad init. Besides the tradition which makes him a former minister of Chou 
Hsin, two other accounts of him are there given, according to which he would 
appear to have been first raised from a humble private station by Wen Wang. 


its style does not belong to the era of the Three Dynasties. 1 
1^ M W Lu Timing (550-625 A.D.) mentions the work, 

and enumerates the headings of the six sections, ^, jj, 
J5% ' ^K) HI anc * ^t ' so t ^ iat t ^ ie forgery cannot have been 

later than the Sui dynasty. 

4- It IS "7" Wei Liao Tz u in 5 chuan. Attributed 
to Wei Liao (4 th cent. B.C.), who studied under the famous 
JJjL & ^r Kuei-ku Tzu. The g| ^, under ^ ^, men- 
tions a book of Wei Liao in 31 chapters, whereas the 
text we possess contains only 24. Its matter is sound 
enough in the main, though the strategical devices differ 
considerably from those of the Warring States period. 3 
It has been furnished with a commentary by the well- 
known Sung philosopher ij|f jjfc Chang Tsai. 

5- H 0& San Liieh, in 3 chuan. Attributed to J| ^ ^ 
Huang-shih Kung, a legendary personage who is said to 
have bestowed it on Chang Liang (d. B.C. 187) in an 
interview on a bridge. 8 But here again, the style is not 
that of works dating from the Ch'in or Han period. The 
Han Emperor Kuang Wu [A.D. 2557] apparently quotes 
from it in one of his proclamations; but the passage in 
question may have been inserted later on, in order to 
prove the genuineness of the work. We shall not be far 
out if we refer it to the Northern Sung period [420-478 
A.D., or somewhat earlier. 4 

3 See Han Shu, Jg j^ ^ , ch. 40. The work is there called^ ^ .& . 

Hence it has been confused with the Liu T~ao. The T~u Shu attributes both the 
Liu T-ao and the San Liieh to T l ai Kung. 

* && 7'tt#it M *ff' ft $.! 2 

4k -^j?> l/j[ ImF %&. ~jfc H}| pf ?^ . Another work said to have been written 
by Huang-shih Kung, and also included in the military section of the Imperial 
Catalogue, is the -|pr ips Su Shu in i chuan. A short ethical treatise of Taoist 


6. ^ f <& ftjj ij Li Wei Rung Wen Tui, in 3 sections. 
Written in the form of a dialogue between T'ai Tsung 
and his great general ^ jf| Li Ching, it is usually ascribed 
to the latter. Competent authorities consider it a forgery, 
though the author was evidently well versed in the art 
of war. l 

7. ^ ip| & $; Li Ching Ping Fa (not to be confounded 
with the foregoing) is a short treatise in 8 chapters, preserved 
in the Tung Tien, but not published separately. This 
fact explains its omission from the Ssu K'u Ch'uan Shu. 

8 - S ^ $S Wu Ch<i chin g> 3 m i ^-. Attributed 
to the legendary minister Jjj^ Jg Feng Hou, with exegetical 
notes by $$ $fc ^ Kung-sun Hung of the Han dynasty 
(d. B.C. 121), and said to have been eulogised by the 
celebrated general Jf pj| Ma Lung (d. A.D. 300). Yet 
the earliest mention of it is in the ^ ^. Although a 
forgery, the work is well put together. 3 

Considering the high popular estimation in which ^ 
^ ^ Chu-ko Liang has always been held, it is not sur- 
prising to find more than one work on war ascribed to 
his pen. Such are (i) the -f- ^ ^ Shih Liu Ts'e 
( i chuan\ preserved in the ^< ^ ^C ft Yung Lo Ta Tien ; 

( 2 ) ?ff $L Chiang Yuan (i ^.)- and (3) Aj) Hsin Shu 

(i ch.\ which steals wholesale from Sun Tzu. None of 
these has the slightest claim to be considered genuine. 

savour, having no reference whatever to war, it is pronounced a forgery from the 
hand of ^^ |^ _ml Chang Shang-ying (d. 1121), who edited it with commentary. 

Correct Wylie's "Notes," new edition, p. 90, and Courant's "Catalogue des Livres 
Chinois," no. 5056. 

We are told in the ^ ^ J? that the above six works, together with Sun Tzii, 
were those prescribed for military training in the j^ J|i. period (1078-85). See 
Yu Hai, ch. 140, f. 4 r. 
2 Also written g ^ j and | J Wu Chi Ching. 


Most of the large Chinese encyclopaedias contain ex- 
tensive sections devoted to the literature of war. The 
following" references may be found useful : 

Tung Tien (circa 800 A.D.), ch. 148-162. 

T<ai P ' in Yii Lan (983), ch. 270-359. 
3$C fit M ^ W ^n Hsien T'ung K'ao (13* cent.), ch. 221. 
35 '/S Yii Hai (13 th cent.), ch. 140, 141. 
H yf HII H" San Ts'ai T'u Hui (16* cent.), \ ^ ch. 7, 8. 
If IS $3 ^ Kuang Po Wu Chih (1607), ch. 31, 32. 
}f ^|||J;ChHen Ch'io Lei Shu (1632), ch. 75. 
?K3 SS iS Yiian Chien Lei Han (1710), ch. 206-229. 
"ifr -4* H S ^1 J?!c Ku Chin T<u Shu Chi Ch'eng (1726), 

section XXX, ^jr/. ch. 81-90. 

g| ^jgc^Ji^ Hsu Wen Hsien T 4 ung K'ao (1784), 

ch. 121-134. 

M 18 ^ tft ^t H Huang Ch'ao Ching Shih Wen Pien 

(1826), ch. 76, 77. 

The bibliographical sections of certain historical works 
also deserve mention : 

^ g| ^ Ch'ien Han Shu, ch. 30. 
|5jf ^ Sui Shu, ch. 32-35. 
3j| jg m Chiu T'ang Shu, ch. 46, 47. 
^ff ) ^ Hsin T'ang Shu, ch. 57-60. 

Sung Shih, ch. 202-209. 

T'ung Chih (>^ 1150), ch. 68. 

To these of course must be added the great Catalogue 
of the Imperial Library: - 

K'u Ch'iian Shu Tsung 
Mu T'i Yao (1790), ch. 99, 100. 


This is the only possible meaning of g-|-, which M. Amiot and Capt. 
Calthrop wrongly translate "Fondements de 1'art militaire" and "First 
principles" respectively. Ts'ao Kung says it refers to the deliberations 
in the temple selected by the general for his temporary use, or as we 
should say, in his tent. See 26. 

i . Sun Tzii said : The art of war is of vital importance 
to the State. 

2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to 
safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which 
can on no account be neglected. 

3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant 
factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, 
when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in 
the field. 

The old text of the Tung Tien has $r $g J# ft jfc || , 

etc. Later editors have inserted l|j after j , and J^ before ^-|* . 
The former correction is perhaps superfluous, but the latter seems neces- 
sary in order to make sense, and is supported by the accepted reading 
in 12, where the same words recur. I am inclined to think, however, 
that the whole sentence from jdfc to 'H|| is an interpolation and has 
no business here at all. If it be retained, Wang Hsi must be right in 
saying that g-(- denotes the "seven considerations" in 13. 'fjfj are 
the circumstances or conditions likely to bring about victory or defeat. 
The antecedent of the first is J ; of the second, J^ > 

4. - 

contains the idea of "comparison with the enemy," which cannot well 
be brought out here, but will appear in 12. Altogether, difficult though 
it is, the passage is not so hopelessly corrupt as to justify Capt. Calthrop 
in burking it entirely. 

4. These are : (i) The Moral Law ; (2) Heaven ; (3) Earth ; 
(4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline. 

It appears from what follows that Sun Tzti means by j|f^ a P r i nc ipl e 
of harmony, not unlike the Tao of Lao Tzu in its moral aspect. One 
might be tempted to render it by "morale," were it not considered as an 
attribute of the ruler in 13. 

5, 6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in 
complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow 
him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger. 

The original text omits ^ ^jjj, inserts an JJ after each ~flj*, and 
omits JjjJ after ffjj . Capt. Calthrop translates : "If the ruling authority 
be upright, the people are united" a very pretty sentiment, but wholly 
out of place in what purports to be a translation of Sun Tzu. 

7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times 
and seasons. 

The commentators, I think, make an unnecessary mystery of (^ ||J|? . 
Thus Meng Shih defines the words as Mil & Tjft &S "the hard and 

Inl'J s\^ JHL /MO 

the soft, waxing and waning," which does not help us much. Wang Hsi, 
however, may be right in saying that what is meant is jUj ^ ^ "the 
general economy of Heaven," including the five elements, the four sea- 
sons, wind and clouds, and other phenomena. 

8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger 
and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances 
of life and death. 

^E ^fe (omitted by Capt. Calthrop) may have been included here 
because the safety of an army depends largely on its quickness to turn 
these geographical features to account. 

10. & ^ ft id g- g ffl 

9. 7^ Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, 
sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness. 

The five cardinal virtues of the Chinese are (i) f"! humanity or 
benevolence; (2) l|| uprightness of mind; (3) jj|J| self-respect, self-control, 
or "proper feeling;" (4) ^ wisdom; (5) -jpj sincerity or good faith. Here 
>JU and >j=| are put before ^^ , and the two military virtues of "courage" 
and "strictness" substituted for l|h and ifi . 

10. By Method and discipline are to be understood the 
marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the 
gradations of rank among the officers, the maintenance 
of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the 
control of military expenditure. 

The Chinese of this sentence is so concise as to be practically unintel- 
ligible without commentary. I have followed the interpretation of Ts'ao 
Kung, who joins |Qj ^j|J and again ^ J^ . Others take each of the 
six predicates separately. f[j| has the somewhat uncommon sense of 
"cohort" or division of an army. Capt. Calthrop translates: "Partition 
and ordering of troops," which only covers ^ ^j|J . 

1 1 . These five heads should be familiar to every general : 
he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows 
them not will fail. 

12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to 
determine the military conditions, let them be made the 
basis of a comparison, in this wise : - 

The Yu Lan has an interpolated ^ before g-J* . It is obvious, how- 
ever, that the ^L ^jf J ust enumerated cannot be described as g-f. 
Capt. Calthrop, forced to give some rendering of the words which he had 
omitted in 3, shows himself decidedly hazy: "Further, with regard to 
these and the following seven matters, the condition of the enemy must 
be compared with our own." He does not appear to see that the seven 
queries or considerations which follow arise directly out of the Five heads, 
instead of being supplementary to them. 

& & ft m 

i& V II ft** it 4 

13. (i) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the 
Moral law? 

I. e., "is in harmony with his subjects." Cf. 5. 

(2) Which of the two generals has most ability? 

(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven 
and Earth? 

See 7, 8. 

(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? 

Tu Mu alludes to the remarkable story of Ts'ao Ts'ao (A. D. 155 220), 
who was such a strict disciplinarian that once, in accordance with his 
own severe regulations against injury to standing crops, he condemned 
himself to death for having allowed his horse to shy into a field of corn ! 
However, in lieu of losing his head, he was persuaded to satisfy his sense 
of justice by cutting off his hair. Ts'ao Ts'ao's own comment on the 
present passage is characteristically curt: |* fft ^ ^ ^ ffjj jjfc |^ 
f{ when you lay down a law, see that it is not disobeyed; if it is disobeyed, 
the offender must be put to death." 

(5) Which army is the stronger? 

Morally as well as physically. As Mei Yao-ch'en puts it, ptj Jfft [ |^ , 

which might be freely rendered "esprit de corps and 'big battalions.'" 

(6) On which side are officers and men more highly 
trained ? 

Tu Yu quotes 3E -^ as saying: "Without constant practice, the of- 
ficers will be nervous and undecided when mustering for battle; without 
constant practice, the general will be wavering and irresolute when the 
crisis is at hand." 

(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both 
in reward and punishment? 

IJJ , literally "clear;" that is, on which side is there the most absolute 
certainty that merit will be properly rewarded and misdeeds summarily 
punished ? 

14. By means of these seven considerations I can fore- 
cast victory or defeat. 

I?- I^ ftf ffS i&J fllfe 

15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts 
upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in 
command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel 
nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: let such a one be 
dismissed ! 

The form of this paragraph reminds us that Sun Tzu's treatise was 
composed expressly for the benefit of his patron ||f] ^ Ho Lii, king 
of the Wti State. It is not necessary, however, to understand ^j before 
@ ^ (as some commentators do), or to take *|^ as "generals under 
my command." 

1 6. While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail your- 
self also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond 
the ordinary rules. 

Capt. Calthrop blunders amazingly over this sentence: "Wherefore, 
with regard to the foregoing, considering that with us lies the advantage, 
and the generals agreeing, we create a situation which promises victory." 
Mere logic should have kept him from penning such frothy balderdash. 

17. According as circumstances are favourable, one 
should modify one's plans. 

Sun Tzu, as a practical soldier, will have none of the "bookish theoric." 
He cautions us here not to pin our faith to' abstract principles; "for," as 
Chang Yii puts it, "while the main laws of strategy can be stated clearly 
enough for the benefit of all and sundry, you must be guided by the 
actions of the enemy in attempting to secure a favourable position in 
actual warfare." On the eve of the battle of Waterloo, Lord Uxbridge, 
commanding the cavalry, went to the Duke of Wellington in order to 
learn what his plans and calculations were for the morrow, because, as 
he explained, he might suddenly find himself Commander-in-chief and 
would be unable to frame new plans in a critical moment. The Duke 
listened quietly and then said: "Who will attack the first to-morrow I 
or Bonaparte?" "Bonaparte," replied Lord Uxbridge. "Well," continued 
the Duke, "Bonaparte has not given me any idea of his projects; and as 
my plans will depend upon his, how can you expect me to tell you what 
mine are ?" * 

* "Words on Wellington," by Sir W. Fraser. 

18- ^ % H M. 

ft 4t& ff :$ 2 7 1^ K ^ 78 ft W4M: 


20. ^ij fffi if ; ii ffn $t 

21. rffl ffi 2 ffi BB & 2 

22. & ffi) 2. J& ffi If 2 

1 8. All warfare is based on deception. 

The truth of this pithy and profound saying will be admitted by every 
soldier. Col. Henderson tells us that Wellington, great in so many mili- 
tary qualities, was especially distinguished by "the extraordinary skill with 
which he concealed his movements and deceived both friend and foe." 

/i 9. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; 
when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we 
are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far 
away; when far away, we must make him believe we 
are near. 

20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign dis- 
order, and crush him. 

JJ5(, as often in Sun Tzu, is used in the sense of *j|c. It is rather 
remarkable that all the commentators, with the exception of Chang Yii, 
refer ja^ to the enemy: "when he is in disorder, crush him." It is 
more natural to suppose that Sun Tzu is still illustrating the uses of 
deception in war. 

21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. 
If he is in superior strength, evade him. 

The meaning of jjj is made clear from chap. VI, where it is opposed 
to ||[ "weak or vulnerable spots." jjtji according to Tu Yu and other 
commentators, has reference to the keenness of the men as well as to 
numerical superiority. Capt. Calthrop evolves an extraordinarily far-fetched 
translation: "If there are defects, give an appearance of perfection, and 
awe the enemy. Pretend to be strong, and so cause the enemy to 
avoid you" ! 

22. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to ir- 
ritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. 

I follow Chang Yu in my interpretation of :&% . j|l is expanded by 
Mei Yao-ch'en into ^ J^ j|r jg . Wang Tzu, quoted by Tu Yu, 


fcUZfe *Ht ffl 

25- ift^lt^ 


says that the good tactician plays with his adversary as a cat plays with 
a mouse, first feigning weakness and immobility, and then suddenly 
pouncing upon him. 

23. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. 

This is probably the meaning, though Mei Yao-ch'en has the note: 

K% $& ^ i^C $f $$. ^ ^ "while we are taking our ease, wait for 

the enemy to tire himself out." The Yu Lan has jtj| ffjj ^ ^ 

"Lure him on and tire him out." This would seem also to have been 

Ts'ao Kung's text, judging by his comment J,/j[ 7Ji|J j& ^ . 

If his forces are united, separate them. 

Less plausible is the interpretation favoured by most of the commen- 
tators: "If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them." 

24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where 
you are not expected. 

25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not 
be divulged beforehand. 

This seems to be the way in which Ts'ao Kung understood the 
passage, and is perhaps the best sense to be got out of the text as 
it stands. Most of the commentators give the following explanation : 
"It is impossible to lay down rules for warfare before you come into 
touch with the enemy." This would be very plausible if it did not 
ignore [J^ , which unmistakably refers to the maxims which Sun Tzu 
has been laying down. It is possible, of course, that jj may be a later 
interpolation, in which case the sentence would practically mean: "Suc- 
cess in warfare cannot be taught." As an alternative, however, I would 
venture to suggest that a second ^ may have fallen out after "jjj*, so 
that we get : "These maxims for succeeding in war are the first that ought 
to be imparted." 

26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many 
calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. 


Chang Yii tells us that in ancient times it was customary for a temple 
to be set apart for the use of a general who was about to take the field, 
in order that he might there elaborate his plan of campaign. Capt. Calthrop 
misunderstands it as "the shrine of the ancestors," and gives a loose and 
inaccurate rendering of the whole passage. 

The general who loses a battle makes but few cal- 
culations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to 
victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more 
no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that 
I can foresee who is likely to win or lose. 


Ts'ao Kung has the note: ^^^ "He who 

wishes to fight must first count the cost," which prepares us for the dis- 
covery that the subject of the chapter is not what we might expect from 
the title, but is primarily a consideration of ways and means. 

i. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there 
are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy 
chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, 

were lightly built and, according to Chang Yii, used for 
the attack ; the "ffi ifi were heavier, and designed for purposes of defence. 
Li Ch'iian, it is true, says that the latter were light, but this seems hardly 
probable. Capt. Calthrop translates "chariots" and "supply wagons" 
respectively, but is not supported by any commentator. It is interesting 
to note the analogies between early Chinese warfare and that of the 
Homeric Greeks. In each case, the war-chariot was the important factor, 
forming as it did the nucleus round which was grouped a certain number 
of foot-soldiers. With regard to the numbers given here, we are informed 
that each swift chariot was accompanied by 75 footmen, and each heavy 
chariot by 25 footmen, so that the whole army would be divided up into 
a thousand battalions, each consisting of two chariots and a hundred men. 

with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, 

2.78 modern li go to a mile. The length may have varied slightly 
since Sun Tzu's time. 

the expenditure at home and at the front, including enter- 
tainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, 



3. A $ en; IN H M ^ & 

and sums spent on chariots and armour, will reach the 
total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. 

ty , which follows ?||! in the textus receptus, is important as indicating 
the apodosis. In the text adopted by Capt. Calthrop it is omitted, so 
that he is led to give this meaningless translation of the opening sentence : 
"Now the requirements of War are such that we need 1,000 chariots," 
etc. The second JJP, which is redundant, is omitted in the Yu Lan. 


-3^ ^ , like -^J- Jji above, is meant to suggest a large but indefinite 
number. As the Chinese have never possessed gold coins, it is incorrect 
to translate it "1000 pieces of gold." 

Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men. 

Capt. Calthrop adds: "You have the instruments of victory," which he 
seems to get from the first five characters of the next sentence. 

2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is 
long in coming, the men's weapons will grow dull and 
their ardour will be damped. 

The Yu Lan omits ^ ; but though ^ ^ is certainly a bold phrase, 
it is more likely to be right than not. Both in this place and in 4, 
the T l ung Tien and Yu Lan read jji|j (in the sense of "to injure") in- 
stead of $|,. 

If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. 
As synonyms to Jjjl are given jjj^ , $p , |p| and ^ . 

3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources 
of the State will not be equal to the strain. 

9\. ^ Sift means literally, "If there is long exposure of the army." 
Of -^ in this sense K'ang Hsi cites an instance from the biography of 

W fS Tou J un in tne Hou Han Shu i wnere tne commentary defines 
it by H . Cf. also the following from the |r^ g ^ : ^ j|f ^ 

^ US ^ %k "General, you have long been exposed to all weathers." 

1 1 


4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardour 
damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, 
other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your 
extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to 
avert the consequences that must ensue. 

Following Tu Yu, I understand ^ in the sense of "to make good," 
i. e. to mend. But Tu Mu and Ho Shih explain it as "to make good 
plans" for the future. 

5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, 
cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays. 

This concise and difficult sentence is not well explained by any of the 
commentators. Ts'ao Kung, Li Ch'iian, Meng Shih, Tu Yu, Tu Mu and 
Mei Yao-ch'en have notes to the effect that a general, though naturally 
stupid, may nevertheless conquer through sheer force of rapidity. Ho 
Shih says: "Haste may be stupid, but at any rate it saves expenditure of 
energy and treasure; protracted operations may be very clever, but they 
bring calamity in their train." Wang Hsi evades the difficulty by remarking : 
"Lengthy operations mean an army growing old, wealth being expended, 
an empty exchequer and distress among the people; true cleverness in- 
sures against the occurrence of such calamities." Chang Yii says: "So 
long as victory can be attained, stupid haste is preferable to clever dila- 
toriness." Now Sun Tzu says nothing whatever, except possibly by im- 
plication, about ill-considered haste being better than ingenious but lengthy 
operations. What he does say is something much more guarded, namely 
that, while speed may sometimes be injudicious, tardiness can never be 
anything but foolish if only because it means impoverishment to the 
nation. Capt. Calthrop indulges his imagination with the following: 
"Therefore it is acknowledged that war cannot be too short in duration. 
But though conducted with the utmost art, if long continuing, misfortunes 
do always appear." It is hardly worth while to note the total disappearance 
of ;j*(J jj|j| in this precious concoction. In considering the point raised 
here by Sun Tzti, the classic example of Fabius Cunctator will inevitably 
occur to the mind. That general deliberately measured the endurance of 
Rome against that of Hannibal's isolated army, because it seemed to him 
that the latter was more likely to suffer from -a long campaign in a strange 
country. But it is quite a moot question whether his tactics would have 
proved successful in the long run. Their reversal, it is true, led to Can- 
nae; but this only establishes a negative presumption in their favour. 


6. There is no instance of a country having benefited 
from prolonged warfare. 

The Yu Lan has [gj instead of g| evidently the mistake of 
a scribe. 

7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the 
evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable 
way of carrying it on. 

That is, with rapidity. Only one who knows the disastrous effects of a 
long war can realise the supreme importance of rapidity in bringing it to 
a close. Only two commentators seem to favour this interpretation, but 
it fits well into the logic of the context, whereas the rendering, "He who 
does not know the evils of war cannot appreciate its benefits," is distinctly 

8. The skilful soldier does not raise a second levy, 
neither are his supply-waggons loaded more than twice. 

Once war is declared, he will not waste precious time in waiting for 
reinforcements, nor will he turn his army back for fresh supplies, but 
crosses the enemy's frontier without delay. This may seem an audacious 
policy to recommend, but with all great strategists, from Julius Caesar to 
Napoleon Buonaparte, the value of time that is, being a little ahead 
of your opponent has counted for more than either numerical superiority 
or the nicest calculations with regard to commissariat. |sj| is used in 
the sense of ^ . The T'ung Tien and Yu Lan have the inferior reading 
^. The commentators explain ^f\ ~ JJ& by saying that the wag- 
gons are loaded once before passing the frontier, and that the army is 
met by a further consignment of supplies on the homeward march. The 
Yu Lan, however, reads ^. here as well. 

9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage 
on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough 
for its needs. 

|H , "things to be used," in the widest sense. It includes all the im- 
pedimenta of an army, apart from provisions. 


3 ft ft tt &tt & * M ft & 

m * * g * 1 m w ** it *8 

10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to 
be maintained by contributions from a distance. Con- 
tributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the 
people to be impoverished. 

The beginning of this sentence does not balance properly with the next, 
though obviously intended to do so. The arrangement, moreover, is so 
awkward that I cannot help suspecting some corruption in the text. It 
never seems to occur to Chinese commentators that an emendation may 
be necessary for the sense, and we get no help from them here. Sun 
Tzu says that the cause of the people's impoverishment is Jg| jjffjjj ; it is 
clear, therefore, that the words have reference to some system by which 
the husbandmen sent their contributions of corn to the army direct. 
But why should it fall on them to maintain an army in this way, except 
because the State or Government is too poor to do so? Assuming then 
that ^^ ought to stand first in the sentence in order to balance j| 
(the fact that the two words rhyme is significant), and thus getting rid of 
|S| ^ > we are still left with J^ [Jjjj , which latter word seems to me 
an obvious mistake for ^ . "Poverty in the army" is an unlikely ex- 
pression, especially as the general has just been warned not to encumber 
his army with a large quantity of supplies. If we suppose that (jj|} 
somehow got written here instead of [H (a very simple supposition, as 
we have jj j^ (jjjj in the next sentence), and that later on somebody, 
scenting a mistake, prefixed the gloss H ^ to ^^ , without however 
erasing J^ (Jj|j , the whole muddle may be explained. My emended 
text then would be " etc< 

1 1 . On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes 
prices to go up ; and high prices cause the people's sub- 
stance to be drained away. 

jj, that is, as Wang Hsi says, before the army has left its own ter- 
ritory. Ts'ao Kung understands it of an army that has already crossed 
the frontier. Capt. Calthrop drops the J^ , reading j^ j|j ^ , but 
even so it is impossible to justify his translation "Repeated wars cause 
high prices." 

12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry 
will be afflicted by heavy exactions. 


A ' JJ JB ^4Ui W II I 


Cf. Mencius VII. 2. xiv. 2, where j g* has the same meaning as 

JEt ^ - was an ancient measure of land - The ful1 table > as iven 

by f^ ^ ^, may not be out of place here: 6/^ = 1^; 100 ^ = 

i ^; ico^^ 1 ^; 3 ^t = i M; 3 M = i #; 4^=1 eL; 

4 S=iJ^; 4 j = i 'fij According to the Chou Li, there were nine 
husbandmen to a iJJ:, which would assign to each man the goodly al- 
lowance of 100 jjjj^ (of which 6.6 now go to an acre). What the values 
of these measures were in Sun Tzti's time is not known with any certainty. 
The lineal f^, however, is supposed to have been about 20 cm. ^ 
may include levies of men, as well as other exactions. 

V/I3, 14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of 
strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, 
and three-tenths of their incomes will be dissipated; 

The Yu Lan omits gj Jjp . I would propose the emended reading 

'/I SB HlI Eft > etc - I n y i ew of tne f act tnat we nave St jifi i n tne 
S'* /M~I y^-^ i ^j '^ 

two preceding paragraphs, it seems probable that ^J is a scribe's mistake 
for j||J , Jp having been added afterwards to make sense. p| jjjj| ^ 

^ J^ ^Cj literally: "Within the middle plains there is emptiness in 
the homes." For F Jgr cf. Shih Ching II. 3. vi. 3 and II. 5. n. 3. With 

regard to -f> 3 ^ , Tu Mu says: ^ || -f ^ ^ ^ {fj , 

and Wang Hsi : ^ .^ -^ 4. ^ ; that is, the people are mulcted not 
of y 3 ^, but of T 7 , of their income. But this is hardly to be extracted 
from our text. Ho Shih has a characteristic tag: ||0 Jxj[ fji '1^ 2J!C 

Sm^^^JgA*fi^fi'lt " The *& being 
regarded as the essential part of the State, and food as the people's heaven, 
is it not right that those in authority should value and be careful of 

while Government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out 
.horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears 
and shields, protective mantlets, draught-oxen and heavy 
waggons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. 


31 1 ^ - + 

The K# Lan has several various readings here, the more important of 
which are Jjj? for the less common ^ (read /'z' 2 ), "~J"' for j^, and 

Ji 2fc. for j ^, which latter, if right, must mean "oxen from the 
country districts" (cf. supra, 12). For the meaning of >H| , see note 
on III, 4. Capt. Calthrop omits to translate fr. ^ ^ jjl . 

15. Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging 
on the enemy. One cartload of the enemy's provisions is 
equivalent to twenty of one's own, and likewise a single 
picul of his provender is equivalent to twenty from one's 
own store. 

Because twenty cartloads will be consumed in the process of transporting 
one cartload to the front. According to Ts'ao Kung, a ||f = 6 ffi 4 gij. , 

or 64 g>J, but according to Meng Shih, 10 ffl make a |jf. The ^ 

picul consisted of 70 ^j* catties (Tu Mu and others say 120). lg ^f, 
literally, "beanstalks and straw." 

1 6. Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be 
roused to anger ; that there may be advantage from defeating 
the enemy, they must have their rewards. 

These are two difficult sentences, which I have translated in accordance 
with Mei Yao-ch'en's paraphrase. We may incontinently reject Capt. 
Calthrop's extraordinary translation of the first: "Wantonly to kill and 
destroy the enemy must be forbidden." Ts'ao Kung quotes a jingle cur- 
rent in his day: ^ ft % ^ ^^ ffl| < ^ Q. Tu 
Mu says: "Rewards are necessary in order to make the soldiers see the 
advantage of beating the enemy ; thus, when you capture spoils from the 
enemy, they must be used as rewards, so that all your men may have a 
keen desire to fight, each on his own account. Chang Yu takes ^c|J as 
the direct object of J^( , which is not so good. 

17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more 
chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who 
took the first. 



Capt. Calthrop's rendering is : "They who are the first to lay their hands 
on more than ten of the enemy's chariots, should be encouraged." We 
should have expected the gallant captain to see that such Samson-like 
prowess deserved something more substantial than mere encouragement. 
T. omits |jj , and has Jjj/J _, in place of the more archaic g^ _^ . 

Our own flags should be substituted for those of the 
enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction 
with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated 

A 1 

and kept. 

i8./ This is called, using the conquered foe to augment 
/onown strength. ^ ^ f . ^ ^f^ff^^, 

. In war,* then, let your great object be victory, not 
engthy campaigns. r*&2sC, 

As Ho Shih remarks: ^^pf^C^^'Srif ^ w * r is not a 
/ thing to be trifled with." Sun Tzu here reiterates the main lesson which 
this chapter is intended to enforce. 

20. Thus it may be known that the leader of armies 
is the arbiter of the people's fate, the man on whom it 
depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in peril. 

In the original text, there is a /jh before the J$J . 

jk ft 


1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best 
thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and 
intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, 
it is better to capture an army entire than to destroy it, 
to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire 
than to destroy them. 

A jj[ "army corps," according to Ssu-ma Fa, consisted nominally of 
12500 men; according to Ts'ao Kung, a j^j contained 500 men, a 7jj 
any number between 100 and 500, and a '(JL any number between 5 
and 100. For the last two, however, Chang Yii gives the exact figures 
of TOO and 5 respectively. 

2. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is 
not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in 
breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. 

Here again, no modern strategist but will approve the words of the old 
Chinese general. Moltke's greatest triumph, the capitulation of the huge 
French army at Sedan, was won practically without bloodshed. 

3. Thus the highest form of generalship is to baul 
the enemy's plans ; 


4 . 

I.e., as Li Ch'iian says (<f& 3( jft $ &)> "> their ver y inception. 
Perhaps the word "baulk" falls short of expressing the full force of ^ , 
which implies not an attitude of defence, whereby one might be content 
to foil the enemy's stratagems one after another, but an active policy of 
counter-attack. Ho Shih puts this very clearly in his note: "When the 
enemy has made a plan of attack against us, we must anticipate him by 
delivering our own attack first." 

the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy's 
forces ; 

Isolating him from his allies. We must not forget that Sun Tzti, in 
speaking of hostilities, always has in mind the numerous states or princi- 
palities into which the China of his day was split up. 

the next in order is to attack the enemy's army in the field ; 

When he is already in full strength, 
and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities. 

The use of the word J5 is somewhat unusual, which may account for 
the reading of the modern text : S ~J\ JJ JjjjJJ . 

4. The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can 
possibly be avoided. 

Another sound piece of military theory. Had the Boers acted upon it 
in 1899, an d refrained from dissipating their strength before Kimberley, 
Mafeking, or even Ladysmith, it is more than probable that they would 
have been masters of the situation before the British were ready seriously 
to oppose them. 

The preparation of mantlets, movable shelters, and various 
implements of war, will take up three whole months; 

It is not quite clear what |J| were. Ts'ao Kung simply defines them 
as ^ ;jtjg "large shields," but we get a better idea of them from Li Ch'iian, 
who says they were to protect the heads of those who were assaulting 
the city walls at close quarters. This seems to suggest a sort of Roman 
testudo, ready made. Tu Mu says they were "what are now termed 
j|2 ffi" (wheeled vehicles used in repelling attacks, according to K'ang 
Hsi), but this is denied by Ch'en Hao. See supra, II. 14. The name 
is also applied to turrets on city walls. Of |j|f 4H (fen yuri) we get 


5 . %. -* g & m m m z w H z - 

a fairly clear description from several commentators. They were wooden 
missile-proof structures on four wheels, propelled from within, cove- 
red over with raw hides, and used in sieges to convey parties of men 
to and from the walls, for the purpose of filling up the encircling moat 
with earth. Tu Mu adds that they are now called ~fc j||| "wooden 
donkeys." Capt. Calthrop wrongly translates the term, "battering-rams." 
I follow Ts'ao Kung in taking J=T as a verb, co-ordinate and synonymous 
with / jj| . Those commentators who regard jj| as an adjective equiva- 
lent to -^ "long," make JL presumably into a noun. 

and the piling up of mounds over against the walls will 
take three months more. 

The J|J |||| (or Jjjj , in the modern text) were great mounds or ram- 
parts of earth heaped up to the level of the enemy's walls in order to 
discover the weak points in the defence, and also to destroy the jjfe ^ 
fortified turrets mentioned in the preceding note. Tu Yu quotes the Tso 

5. The general, unable to control his irritation, will 
launch his men to the assault like swarming ants, 

Capt. Calthrop unaccountably omits this vivid simile, which, as Ts'ao 
Kung says, is taken from the spectacle of an army of ants climbing a 
wall. The meaning is that the general, losing patience at the long delay, 
may make a premature attempt to storm the place before his engines of 
war are ready. 

with the result that one-third of his men are slain, while 
the town still remains untaken. Such are the disastrous 
effects of a siege. 

We are reminded of the terrible losses of the Japanese before Port 
Arthur, in the most recent siege which history has to record. The T'-ung 
Tien reads ^ J$ ^ jg; . . . ||J ^ $L . . . # $ < . 

For "|H^ J the Yu Lan has fQ ^K . Capt. Calthrop does not translate 
and mistranslates 

6. Therefore the skilful leader subdues the enemy's 
troops without any fighting; he captures their cities with- 




out laying siege to them; he overthrows their kingdom 
without lengthy operations in the field. 

Chia Lin notes that he only overthrows the [j|| , that is, the Govern- 
ment, but does no harm to individuals. The classical instance is Wu 
Wang, who after having put an end to the Yin dynasty was acclaimed 
"Father and mother of the people." 

7. With his forces intact he will dispute the mastery 
of the Empire, and thus, without losing a man, his triumph 
will be complete. 

Owing to the double meanings of & , ^ [= ^ ] and ^ |J , the 
latter part of the sentence is susceptible of quite a different meaning: 
"And thus, the weapon not being blunted by use, its keenness remains 
perfect." Chang Yii says that ^pjj is "the advantage of a prosperous 
kingdom and a strong army." 
x This is the method of attacking by stratagem. 

8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy's 
one, to surround him ; if five to one, to attack him ; 

Straightaway, without waiting for any further advantage. 
if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. 

Note that ^ does not refer to the enemy, as in the two ^preceding 
clauses. This sudden change of object is quite common in Chinese. 
Tu Mu takes exception to the saying; and at first sight, indeed, it appears 
to violate a fundamental principle of war. Ts'ao Kung, however, gives 
a clue to Sun Tzti's meaning: ty ^ j| ||J $ij ^ ] 
t$;f ^ij pj "Being two to the enemy's one, we may use one parlf; of our 
army in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion." [For 
explanation of j and ^ , see V. 3, note.] Chang Yu thus further 
elucidates the point : "If our force is twice as numerous as that of the 
enemy, it should be split up into two divisions, one to meet the enemy 
in front, and one to fall upon his rear; if he replies to the frontal attack, 
he may be crushed from behind; if to the rearward attack, he may be 
crushed in front. This is what is meant by saying that "one part may 
be used in the regular way, and the other for some special diversion." 
Tu Mu does not understand that dividing one's army is simply an irre- 
gular, just as concentrating it is the regular, strategical method, and he 
is too hasty in calling this a mistake." 


1& HI it ifc & n sfe JS Z * ^ M'J B^ 3! 

9. If equally matched, we can offer battle; 

Li Ch'iian, followed by Ho Shih, gives the following paraphrase: 
=fc 2 ^t $f Wfe *& 3 "If attackers and attacked are equally 

_H ^Pl XV IKl*. |R- |=t Pi ~T*\ 

matched in strength, only the able general will fight." He thus takes 
j||2 as though it were j||| ^jf , which is awkward. 

if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy ; 
The Tu Shu has ^f* instead of i^fc , which is hardly distinguishable in sense 

-J A^ 

from :jjn| in the next clause. The meaning, "we can watch the enemy," is 
certainly a great improvement on the above; but unfortunately there ap- 
pears to be no very good authority for the variant. Chang Yu reminds 
us that the saying only applies if the other factors are equal; a small 
difference in numbers is often more than counterbalanced by superior 
energy and discipline. 

if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him. 

10. Hence, though an obstinate fight may be made 
by a small force, in the end it must be captured by the 
larger force. 

In other words: "C'est magnifique; mais ce n'est pas la guerre." 

11. Now the general is the bulwark of the State: if 
the bulwark is complete at all points, the State will be 
strong ; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak. 

K!i cannot be restricted to anything so particular as in Capt. Calthrop's 
translation, "divided in his allegiance." It is simply keeping up the 
metaphor suggested by ^ . As Li Ch'uan tersely puts it: (Sjjji j|f -{j^ 

ft&$W*Jfc : &M " C/l '*> gap ' indicates deficiency; if the 
general's ability is not perfect (i. e. if he is not thoroughly versed in his 
profession), his army will lack strength." 

12. There are three ways in which a ruler can bring 
misfortune upon his army: 


1 . '"""""""' 

13. (i) By commanding the army to advance or to 
retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey. 
This is called hobbling the army. 

Ts'ao Kung weakly defines ^ as :jjjp "control," "direct." Cf. 17 
ad Jin. But in reality it is one of those graphic metaphors which from 
time to time illuminate Sun Tzu's work, and is rightly explained by Li 
Ch'uanas=:^. He adds the comment: #fl ^ ]g| JgL $$ tijfa || ^ . 
"It is like tying together the legs of a thoroughbred, so that it is unable 
to gallop." One would naturally think of "the ruler" in this passage as 
being at home, and trying to direct the movements of his army from a 
distance. But the commentators understand just the reverse, and quote 
the saying of T'ai Kung: g^pTJ^^t^^S^PTja^t 
pfa ^jin "A kingdom should not be governed from without, an army 
should not be directed from within." Of course it is true that, during 
an engagement, 'or when in close touch with the enemy, the general 
should not be in the thick of his own troops, but a little distance apart. 
Otherwise, he will be liable to misjudge the position as a whole, and 
give wrong orders. 

14. (2) By attempting to govern an army in the same 
way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the 
conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restless- 
ness in the soldier's minds. 

Ts'ao Kung's note is: 5 ^ ^ A B B ^ ^ A 5 /H ^ 

"Pf Ji^l j?p ^ ill > which may be freely translated : "The military sphere 
and the civil sphere are wholly distinct; you can't handle an army in kid 
gloves." And Chang Yu says: "Humanity and justice (fc f^ ) are the 
principles on which to govern a state, but not an army; opportunism 
and flexibility ( |H $jjk ), on the other hand, are military rather than 

civic virtues." |ij ^ jj| ^ jg , "to assimilate the governing of an 
army" - to that of a State, understood. The Tung Tien has ^ 
inserted before JiJ , here and in 15. 


B5 n = 

T 5- (3) By employing the officers of his army without 

That is, he is not careful to use the right man in the right place. 
through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to 
circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers. 

I follow Mei Yao-ch'en here. The other commentators make ~jf\ ^JJ 
etc. refer, not to the ruler, as in 13, 14, but to the officers he employs. 

Thus Tu Yu says: ^ ^ ^ ^ ff f| ^ 1^ ft $ 1 & "If 

a general is ignorant of the principle of adaptability, he must not be en- 
trusted with a position of authority." Tu Mu quotes p? ~fc ^ : "The 
skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the 
covetous man, and the stupid man. For the wise man delights in 
establishing his merit, the brave man likes to show his courage in action, 
the covetous man is quick at seizing advantages, and the stupid man has 
no fear of death." The Tung Tien reads j|f U ^ , which Tu Yu 
explains as |j j|j "is utterly defeated." Capt. Calthrop gives a very 
inaccurate rendering : "Ignorant of the situation of the army, to interfere 
in its dispositions." 

1 6. But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble 
is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is 
simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging vic- 
tory away. 

Most of the commentators take HI in the sense of ^E, which it 

seems to bear also in the Li Chi, ^ jjl . I. 18. [^|7 is there given 
as its equivalent, but Legge tries notwithstanding to retain the more 
usual sense, translating "draw . . . back," which is hardly defensible.] 
Tu Mu and Wang Hsi, however, think jj| Jj|f means "leading up to the 
enemy's victory." 

17. Thus we may know that there are five essentials 


for victory: (i) He will win who knows when to fight 
and when not to fight. 

Chang Yii says: "If he can fight, he advances and takes the offensive; 
if he cannot fight, he retreats and remains on the defensive. He will 
invariably conquer who knows whether it is right to take the offensive 
or the defensive." 

(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior 
and inferior forces. 

This is not merely the general's ability to estimate numbers correctly, 
as Li Ch'iian and others make out. Chang Yii expounds the saying more 
satisfactorily: "By applying the art of war, it is possible with a lesser 
force to defeat a greater, and vice versa. The secret lies in an eye for 
locality, and in not letting the right moment slip. Thus Wu Tzii says: 
'With a superior force, make for easy ground; with an inferior one, make 
for difficult ground.'" 

(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same 
spirit throughout all its ranks. 

Ts'ao Kung refers j^ ~"f\ less well to sovereign and subjects. 

(4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take 
the enemy unprepared. 

(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not 
interfered with by the sovereign. 

Tu Yu quotes ^ as saying: =|fg#;g-&ifc#,M 

"It is the sovereign's function to give broad instructions, but to decide 
on battle is the function of the general." It is needless to dilate on the 
military disasters which have been caused by undue interference with 
operations in the field on the part of the home government. Napoleon 
undoubtedly owed much of his extraordinary success to the fact that he 
was not hampered by any central authority, that he was, in fact, H& 

J -Tfi / *" 

and jg in one. 

Victory lies in the knowledge of these five points. 
Literally, "These five things are knowledge of the principle of victory." 
1 8. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and 
know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred 


battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for 
every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. ^ 

Ch'iian cites the case of p g| Fu Chien, prince of Ch'in, 

who in 383 A.D. marched with a vast army against the ^- Chin Emperor. 
When warned not to despise an enemy who could command the services 
of such men as ||J- ^^ Hsieh An and ^g ^ Huan Ch'ung, he boast- 
fully replied : "I have the population of eight provinces at my back, in- 
fantry and horsemen to the number of one million; why, they could dam 
up the Yangtsze River itself by merely throwing their whips into the 
stream. What danger have I to fear?" Nevertheless, his forces were 
soon after disastrously routed at the y|j|2 Fei River, and he was obliged 
to beat a hasty retreat. 

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will 
succumb in every battle, x^ 

The modern text, represented by the ^ *jj ^ ^ and Tu 6/^,has jjfc 
J| , which I should be inclined to adopt in preference to ^ here, though 
the Tung Tien and Yu Lan both have the latter. Chang Yu oifers the 
best commentary on ^fl fj ffl S He says that these words "have 
reference to attack and defence: knowing the enemy enables you to take 
the offensive, knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive." 
He adds: ^^^^t^^S?fe^^ "Attack is the secret 
of defence; defence is the planning of an attack." It would be hard to 
find a better epitome of the root-principle of war. 



^U is a very comprehensive and somewhat vague term. Literally, 
"form," "body," it comes to mean "appearance," "attitude" or "disposition ;" 
and here it is best taken as something between, or perhaps combining, 
"tactics" and "disposition of troops." Ts'ao Kung explains it as jp[ ^ 

^ifc^il^ii^il^ffi^'l^-tfc "marching and counter- 

marching on the part of the two armies with a view to discovering each 
other's condition." Tu Mu says: "It is through the ^ dispositions of 
an army that its condition may be discovered. Conceal your dispositions 
(3&| JfJ)> an d your condition will remain secret, which leads to victory; 
show your dispositions, and your condition will become patent, which 
leads to defeat." Wang Hsi remarks that the good general can &|& Jfa 
it ^ 13 Hfc Jt ^3j ^ "secure success by modifying his tactics to 
meet those of the enemy." In the modern text, the title of the chapter 
appears as j|f ^ , which Capt. Calthrop incorrectly translates "the order 
of battle." 

1. Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put 
themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then 
waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. 

2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own 
hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is 
provided by the enemy himself. 

That is, of course, by a mistake on his part. Capt. Calthrop has: 
"The causes of defeat come from within; victory is born in the enemy's 
camp," which, though certainly an improvement on his previous attempt, 
is still incorrect. 


3- I 


3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself 
against defeat, 

"By concealing the disposition of his troops, covering up his tracks, 
and taking unremitting precautions" (Chang Yii). 

but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy. 

The original text reads ^ j|j ^ ~pj* Jj^ , which the modern text has 
further modified into ^ jj\ ~p* J . Capt. Calthrop makes out the 

impossible meaning, "and further render the enemy incapable of victory." 

4. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer 
without being able to do it. 

Capt. Calthrop translates: "The conditions necessary for victory may 
be present, but they cannot always be obtained," which is more or less 

5 . Security against defeat implies defensive tactics ; ability 
to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive. 

For ^p ~p[* Jj|p I retain the sense which it undoubtedly bears in 
i 3, in spite of the fact that the commentators are all against me. 
The meaning they give, "He who cannot conquer takes the defensive," 
is plausible enough, but it is highly improbable that ^ should suddenly 
become active in this way. An incorrect variant in the Yii Lan is 

6. Standing on the defensive indicates insufficient strength 
attacking, a superabundance of strength. 

7. The general who is skilled in defence hides in the 
most secret recesses of the earth; 

Literally, "hides under the ninth earth," which is a metaphor indicating 
the utmost secrecy and concealment, so that the enemy may not know 


his whereabouts. The ^ Jjjj of this passage have of course no connection 
with the - jj "Nine situations" of chap. XI. 

he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost 
heights of heaven. 

Another metaphor, implying that he falls on his adversary like a thun- 
derbolt, against which there is no time to prepare. This is the opinion* 
of most of the commentators, though Ts'ao Kung, followed by Tu Yu, 
explains fyjfc as the hills, rivers, and other natural features which will 
afford shelter or protection to the attacked, and ^ as the phases of 
weather which may be turned to account by the attacking party. Capt. 
Calthrop's "The skilful in attack push to the topmost heaven" conveys 
no meaning at all. 

Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect our- 
selves; on the other, a victory that is complete. 

Capt. Calthrop draws on a fertile imagination for the following: "If 
these precepts be observed, victory is certain." 

8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of 
the common herd is not the acme of excellence. 

As Ts'ao Kung remarks, ^ ^ "the thing is to see the plant 

before it has germinated," to foresee the event before the action has begun. 
Li Ch'iian alludes to the story of Han Hsin who, when about to attack 
the vastly superior army of Jj| Chao, which was strongly entrenched in 
the city of jfc ^ Ch'eng-an, said to his officers: "Gentlemen, we are 
going to annihilate the enemy, and shall meet again at dinner." The 
officers hardly took his words seriously, and gave a very dubious assent. 
But Han Hsin had already worked out in his mind the details of a clever 
stratagem, whereby, as he foresaw, he was able to capture the city and 
inflict a crushing defeat on his adversary. For the full story, see ^ JS 
ff > chap. 34, ^ >jg ^ . Capt. Calthrop again blunders badly with : 
"A victory, even if popularly proclaimed as such by the common folk, 
may not be a true success." 

9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and 
conquer and the whole Empire says, "Well done!" 

True excellence being, as Tu Mu says : (^ |j| j|| ^| ^ jty ffi 
H $5f 'fifc Z, H 1^ ^ jfJL -j/J " To P lar > secretly, to move sur- 


tit ft * tt * if ft # JK * 11*11 It 

reptitiously, to foil the enemy's intentions and baulk his schemes, so 
that at last the day may be won without shedding a drop of blood." 
Sun Tzti reserves his approbation for things that 

"the world's coarse thumb 
And finger fail to plumb." 

10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; 

^ ft is explained as the fur of a hare, which is finest in autumn, 
when it begins to grow afresh. The phrase is a very common one in Chinese 
writers. Cf. Mencius, I. i. vii. 10, and Chuang Tzti, ffi ;[[> *Jj, et al. 

to see sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear 
the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear. 

Ho Shih gives as real instances of strength, sharp sight and quick 
hearing: Jf^ ||| Wu Huo, who could lift a tripod weighing 250 stone; 
JS ^fc. Li Chu, who at a distance of a hundred paces could see objects 
no bigger than a mustard seed ; and [Jjjj lj|lf Shih K'uang, a blind musician 
who could hear the footsteps of a mosquito. 

1 1 . What the ancients called a clever fighter is one 
who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. 

The original text, followed by the Tu ^,has 
But this is an alteration evidently intended to smooth the awkwardness of 
H^ W^ 3 ^ ^ ifc ' w ki cn means literally : "one who, conquering, 
excels in easy conquering." Mei Yao-ch'en says: "He who only sees the 
obvious, wins his battles with difficulty; he who looks below the surface 
of things, wins with ease." 

12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for 
wisdom nor credit for courage. 

Tu Mu explains this very well: "Inasmuch as his victories are gained 
over circumstances that have not come to light, the world at large knows 
nothing of them, and he wins no reputation for wisdom; inasmuch as 
the hostile state submits before there has been any bloodshed, he receives 
no credit for courage." 


13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. 

Ch'en Hao says: "He plans no superfluous marches, he devises no 
futile attacks." The connection of ideas is thus explained by Chang Yu : 
"One who seeks to conquer by sheer strength, clever though he may be 
at winning pitched battles, is also liable on occasion to be vanquished; 
whereas he who can look into the future and discern conditions that are 
not yet manifest, will never make a blunder and therefore invariably win." 
Li Ch'iian thinks that the character ~fifc should be J^ "to have doubts." 
But it is better not to tamper with the text, especially . when no improve- 
ment in sense is the result. 

Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of 
victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already 

The T'-u Shu omits jj\ . ^^ is here = jW . Chia Lin says it is put for ^jp 

in the sense of ^jjfc ; but this is far-fetched. Capt. Calthrop altogether 
ignores the important word ^ . 

14. Hence the skilful fighter puts himself into a position 
which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the 
moment for defeating the enemy. 

A ^ ti " coimse l of perfection," as Tu Mu truly observes. 

Jj|j need not be confined strictly to the actual ground occupied by the 
troops. It includes all the arrangements and preparations which a wise 
general will make to increase the safety of his army. 

15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only 
seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he 
who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks 
for victory. 

Ho Shih thus expounds the paradox: "In warfare, first lay plans which 
will^ ensure victory, and then lead your army to battle: if you will not 
begin with stratagem but rely on brute strength alone, victory will no 
longer be assured." 

fcflf ***<**<* 

1 6. The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, 
and strictly adheres to method and discipline; 

For ^ and , see supra, I. 4 sqq. I think that Chang Yu is 
wrong in altering their signification here, and taking them as 
^ and $|J ^ respectively. 

thus it is in his power to control success. 

17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, 
Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, 
Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory. 

1 8. Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation 
of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of 
quantity ; Balancing of chances to Calculation ; and Victory 
to Balancing of chances. 

It is not easy to distinguish the four terms j| -j|j* f| 7pp| very 
clearly. The first seems to be surveying and measurement of the ground, 
which enable us to jjj form an estimate of the enemy's strength, and 
'to Jjr make calculations based on the data thus obtained; we are thus 
led to ;|p| a general weighing-up, or comparison of the enemy's chances 
with our own; if the latter turn the scale, then Jj|p victory ensues. The 
chief difficulty lies in j , which some commentators take as a calculation 
of numbers^ thereby making it nearly synonymous with ~JT? . Perhaps 
-M] is rather a consideration of the enemy's general position or con- 
dition ('|*j{| or ^^ ^ip 1 )? while (^ is the estimate of his numerical strength. 
On the other hand, Tu Mu defines f|! as ^ j , and adds : jjSji jjjy 

B ^ M H fl ffl t^ H Wi & " the q uestion of relative strength 
having been settled, we can bring the varied resources of cunning into 
play." Ho Shih seconds this interpretation, which is weakened, however, 
by the fact that ;|p| is given as logically consequent on jjjf ; this cer- 
tainly points to the latter being a calculation of numbers. Of Capt. 
Calthrop's version the less said the better. 


19. A victorious army opposed to a routed one, is as a 
pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain. 

Literally, "a victorious army is like an J^ i (20 oz.) weighed against 
a <|i j^ (^ oz.); a routed army as a j^w weighed against an i" The 
point is simply the enormous advantage which a disciplined force, flushed 
with victory, has over one demoralised by defeat. Legge, in his note on 
Mencius, I. 2. ix. 2, makes the Jj^ to be 24 Chinese ounces, and cor- 
rects Chu Hsi's statement that it equalled 20 oz. only. But Li Ch'iian 
of the T'ang dynasty here gives the same figure as Chu Hsi. 

20. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting 
of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep. 
So much for tactical dispositions. 

The construction here is slightly awkward and elliptical, but the general 
sense is plain. The Tu Shu omits jj*-^. A|j7/=8^or Chinese feet. 




^jj; here is said to be an older form of 3jk; Sun Tzu, however, would 
seem to have used the former in the sense of "power," and the latter 
only in the sense of "circumstances." The fuller title -^ ^i is found 
in the T*u Shu and the modern text. Wang Hsi expands it into /jif!| 33)* 
^ ^JJP " tne application, in various ways, of accumulated power;" and 
Chang Yu says: # #$ ft & && # & #1$ "When the 
soldiers' energy has reached its height, it may be used to secure victory." 

i. Sun Tzu said: The control of a large force is the 
same in principle as the control of a few men : it is merely 
a question of dividing up their numbers. 

That is, cutting up the army into regiments, companies, etc., with 
subordinate officers in command of each. Tu Mu reminds us of Han 
Hsin's famous reply to the first Han Emperor, who once said to him: 
"How large an army do you think I could lead?" "Not more than 100,000 
men, your Majesty." "And you?" asked the Emperor. "Oh!" he an- 
swered, "the more the better" ( ^ ^ ^ yjft If). Chang Yu gives 
the following curious table of the subdivisions of an army: 5 men 
make a ^|J; 2 ^|J make a fc; 5 fc make a |^; 2 [^ make a *? ; 

2 make a ; 2 make a - ; 2 - make a ;6 ; 2 >fe make a 

^.; 2 |fl|!. make a W . A j|? or army corps thus works out at 3200 
men. But cf. III. i, note. For ^ , seel. 10. It is possible that ^ 
in that paragraph may also be used in the above technical sense. 

2. Fighting with a large army under your command is 
nowise different from fighting with a small one : it is merely 
a question of instituting signs and signals. 



One must be careful to avoid translating pj ^ "fighting 
large number," no reference to the enemy being intended. ^, is ex- 
plained by Ts'ao Kung as denoting flags and banners, by means of which 
every soldier may recognise his own particular regiment or company, and 
thus confusion may be prevented. ^ he explains as drums and gongs, 
which from the earliest times were used to sound the advance and the 
retreat respectively. Tu Mu defines ^ as |5jj[ ^ "marshalling the 
troops in order," and takes ^g as the flags and banners. Wang Hsi also 
dissents from Ts'ao Kung, referring ^ to the ordering of the troops by 
means of banners, drums and gongs, and -^ to the various names by 
which the regiments might be distinguished. There is much to be said 
for this view. 

3. To ensure that your whole host may withstand the 
brunt of the enemy's attack and remain unshaken this 
is effected by manoeuvres direct and indirect. 

For jj\ , there is another reading Ijj , "all together," adopted by Wang 
Hsi and Chang Yu. We now come to one of the most interesting parts 
of Sun Tzu's treatise, the discussion of the j and the ^ . As it is 
by no means easy to grasp the full significance of these two terms, or to 
render them at all consistently by good English equivalents, it may be 
as well to tabulate some of the commentators' remarks on the subject 
before proceeding further. Li Ch'iian: ^j^^jE^Hj^ii^ 
"Facing the enemy is cheng, making lateral diversions is ch l i" Chia Lin: 
H tfc #1 IE g| $t ffi Jl/j[ ^ & "In presence of the enemy, your 
troops should be arrayed in normal fashion, but in order to secure victory 
abnormal manoeuvres must be employed." Mei Yao-ch'en : J|ff ^|J -fjj* 

$ $ jE^MftZWjMi&Z uc * is active > '""s is 

passive; passivity means waiting for an opportunity, activity brings the 
victory itself." Ho Shih: 

E "We must 

cause the enemy to regard our straightforward attack as one that is secretly 
designed, and vice versa; thus cheng may also be ch l i t and ch'i may also be 
cheng" He instances the famous exploit of Han Hsin, who when marching 
ostensibly against [{ ^ Lin-chin (now j|JJ ^ Chao-i in Shensi), sud- 
denly threw a large force across the Yellow River in wooden tubs, utterly 
disconcerting his opponent. [Ch'ien Han Shu, ch. 34.] Here, we are told, the 
march on Lin-chin was ~|P , and the surprise manoeuvre was ^ . Chang 
Yu gives the following summary of opinions on the words : "Military writers 

**>t^ # #*A*^ 

-fa&^JbUrt cJU^t^f j 

35 ^^fc^C^ly . 

5. j 

do not all agree with regard to the meaning of ch l i and cheng. Jj^J* j|j=? -^ 

Wei Liao Tzu [4* cent. B.C.] says: ZE^^^D^^M'^ 
'Direct warfare favours frontal attacks, indirect warfare attacks from the 
rear.' Ts'ao Kung says: 'Going straight out to join battle is a direct 
operation; appearing on the enemy's rear is an indirect manoeuvre.' 
^fc Jjjjjji ^ Li Wei-kung [6 th and 7 th cent. A.D.] says: 'In war, to march 
straight ahead is nieng; turning movements, on the other hand, are ch'i* 
These writers simply regard cheng as cheng, and ch'i as ch'i; they do nqt 
note that the two are mutually interchangeable and run into each other 
like the two sides of a circle [see infra, n]. A comment of the T'ang 
Emperor T'ai Tsung goes to the root of the matter : 'A ch l i manoeuvre 
may be cheng, if we make the enemy look upon it as cheng; then our 
real attack will be ch l i, and vice versa. The whole secret lies in confusing 
the enemy, so that he cannot fathom our real intent.'" To put it per- 
haps a little more clearly : any attack or other operation is Jp , on which 
the enemy has had his attention fixed; whereas that is ^-, which takes him 
by surprise or comes from an unexpected quarter. If the enemy perceives 
a movement which is meant to be ^- , it immediately becomes Jp . 

at the impact of your army may be like a grind- 
stone dashed against an egg this is effected by the 
science of weak points and strong. 

^ jj t literally "the hollow and the solid," is the title of chap. VI. 5^ 
tuan is the T : u Shu reading, Cf^ hsia that of the standard text. It ap- 
pears from K'ang Hsi that there has been much confusion between the 
two characters, and indeed, it is probable that one of them has really 
crept into the language as a mistake for the other. 

5. In all fighting, the direct method may be used for 
joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order 
to secure victory. 

Chang Yu says: &^W^$1g^$Wg^ 

"Steadily develop indirect tactics, either by pounding the enemy's flanks 
or falling on his rear." A brilliant example of "indirect tactics" which 
decided the fortunes of a campaign was Lord Roberts' night march round 
the Peiwar Kotal in the second Afghan war. * 

* "Forty-one Years in India," chap. 46. 





6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as 
Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and 

is the universally accepted emendation for -^ , the reading of the 

like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like 
the four seasons, they pass away but to return once more. 

Tu Yu and Chang Yii understand this of the permutations of -^ and 
7F. But at present Sun Tzu is not speaking of "jP at a ll> unless, in- 
deed, we suppose with JUJ ^ Jjp Cheng Yu-hsien that a clause relating 
to it has fallen out of the text. Of course, as has already been pointed 
out, the two are so inextricably interwoven in all military operations, 
that they cannot really be considered apart. Here we simply have an 
expression, in figurative language, of the almost infinite resource of a 
great leader. 

7. There are not more than five musical notes, 

yet the combinations of these five give rise to more 
melodies than can ever be heard. 

8. There are not more than five primary colours, 

j J blue, yellow, red, white and black. 

yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever 
be seen. 

9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes, 
St $ B$C ~tf* 1? sour ' acrid > salt > sweet, bitter. 

yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can 
ever be tasted. 



io. In battle, there are not more than two methods of 
attack the direct and the indirect; yet these two in 
combination give rise to an endless series of manoeuvres. 

/ 1 1 . The direct and the indirect lead on to each other 
in turn. It is like moving in a circle you never come 
to an end. Who can exhaust the possibilities of their 
combination ? 

The Tu Shu adds ^ . The final j may refer either to the circle 

or, more probably, to the -^ Jp ^ ^|& understood. Capt. Calthrop 
is wrong with: "They are a mystery that none can penetrate." 

12. The onset of troops is like the rush of a torrent 
which will even roll stones along in its course. 

13. The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop 
of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. 

For Jjjj the Yu Lan reads Ijpjf , which is also supported by a quotation 

in the g J^ fjj; ^ [3 rd cent. B.C.]. j[jj in this context is a word 
which really defies the best efforts of the translator. Tu Mu says that 
it is equivalent to |[jj jjj; ||| j^ "the measurement or estimation of 
distance." But this meaning does not quite fit the illustrative simile in 
15. As applied to the falcon, it seems to me to denote that instinct 
of self-restraint which keeps the bird from swooping on its quarry until 
the right moment, together with the power of judging when the right 
moment has arrived. The analogous quality in soldiers is the highly im- 
portant one of being able to reserve their fire until the very instant at 
which it will be most effective. When the "Victory" went into action 
at Trafalgar at hardly more than drifting pace, she was for several minutes 
exposed to a storm of shot and shell before replying with a single gun. 
Nelson coolly waited until he was within close range, when the broadside 
he brought to bear worked fearful havoc on the enemy's nearest ships. 
That was a case of iSJ . 



14. Therefore the good fighter will be terrible in his 
onset, and prompt in his decision. 

Tu Yu defines |[j} here by the word ||||f , which is very like "decision" 
in English, ^g is certainly used in a very unusual sense, even if, as the 
commentators say, it = jj . This would have reference to the measurement 
of distance mentioned above, letting the enemy get near before striking. 
But I cannot help thinking that Sun Tzu meant to use the word in a 
figurative sense comparable to our own idiom "short and sharp." Cf. Wang 
Hsi's note, which after describing the falcon's mode of attack, proceeds : 

^^WbHii1ttl&^f " This is J ust how the 'psychological 
moment' should be seized in war." I do not care for Capt. Calthrop's 
rendering : "The spirit of the good fighter is terrifying, his occasions sudden." 

15. Energy may be likened to the bending of a cross- 
bow; decision, to the releasing of the trigger. 

"Energy" seems to be the best equivalent here for ijjfa , because the 
comparison implies that the force is potential, being stored up in the bent 
cross-bow until released by the finger on the trigger. None of the com- 
mentators seem to grasp the real point of the simile. 

1 6. Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may 
be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid 
confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or 
tail, yet it wlfln5e~probf ''againSF defeat. 

J& |f|j, literally "formation circular", is explained by Li Ch'iian as 

IS |H) Hf ifc "without back or front." Mei Yao-ch'en says: "The sub- 
divisions of the army having been previously fixed, and the various signals 
agreed upon, the separating and joining, the dispersing and collecting 
which will take place in the course of a battle, may give the appearance 
of disorder when no real disorder is possible. Your formation may be 
without head or tail, your dispositions all topsy-turvy, and yet a rout of 
your forces quite out of the question." It is a little difficult to decide 
whether pj g[ and ^ [gj should not be taken as imperatives: "fight 
in disorder (for the purpose of deceiving the enemy), and you will be 
secure against real disorder." Cf. I. 20: pjj Jj( . 


disorder postulates perfect discipline; 
simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness 
postulates strength. 

In order to make the translation intelligible, it is necessary to tone 
down the sharply paradoxical form of the original. Ts'ao Kung throws 
out a hint of the meaning in his brief note : -^ ^ ^ [j^ *Jj|j -jj^ 
"These things all serve to destroy formation and conceal one's condition." 
But Tu Mu is the first to put it quite plainly : "If you wish to feign con- 
fusion in order to lure the enemy on, you must first have perfect discipline; 
if you wish to display timidity in order to entrap the enemy, you must 
have extreme courage ; if you wish to parade your weakness in order to 
make the enemy over-confident, you must have exceeding strength." 

1 8. Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply 
a question of subdivision ; 

See supra, i. 

concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes 
a fund of latent energy; "ffififc ^k^ 

It is passing strange that the commentators should unaemana 
as "circumstances" a totally different sense from that which it has 
previously borne in this chapter. Thus Tu Mu says: Jjjl^ yf ^|J ^ 

i*ffi)^S&i$:A#^:a'l*& " seei "g that we . are 

favourably circumstanced and yet make no move, the enemy will believe 
that we are really afraid." 

masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical 
dispositions. ' - - ^^U^^i^l^ ^L^^^^C^f. 

Chang Yii relates the following anecdote of Kao Tsu/the first Han 
Emperor: "Wishing to crush the Hsiung-nu, he sent out spies to report on 
their condition. But the Hsiung-nu, forewarned, carefully concealed all their 
able-bodied men and well-fed horses, and only allowed infirm soldiers and 
emaciated cattle to be seen. The result was that the spies one and all 
recommended the Emperor to deliver his attack, ijj: j^ Lou Ching alone 
opposed them, saying: "When two countries go to war, they are naturally 
inclined to make an ostentatious display of their strength. Yet our spies 
have seen nothing but old age and infirmity. This is surely some ruse 
on the part of the enemy, and it would be unwise for us to attack." 
The Emperor, however, disregarding this advice, fell into the trap and 
found himself surrounded at Po-teng." 

4 o 


19. Thus one who is skilful at keeping the enemy on 
the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to 
which the enemy will act. 

Ts'ao Kung's note is ^ J|| ^ fy "Make a display of weakness 
and want," but Tu Mu rightly points out that ^ does not refer only to 
weakness : "If our force happens to be superior to the enemy's, weakness 
may be simulated in order to lure him on; but if inferior, he must be 
led to believe that we are strong, in order that he may keep off. In fact, 
all the enemy's movements should be determined by the signs that we 
choose to give him." The following anecdote of Jjj^ J]J| Sun Pin, a 

descendant of Sun Wu, is related at length in the ffg, chap. 65: In 
341 B.C., the gC Ch'i State being at war with |j| Wei, sent gj ^ Tien 
Chi and Sun Pin against the general ^ y^| P'ang Chiian, who happened 
to be a deadly personal enemy of the latter. Sun Pin said : "The Ch'i 
State has a reputation for cowardice, and therefore our adversary despises 
us. Let us turn this circumstance to account." Accordingly, when the 
army had crossed the border into Wei territory, he gave orders to show 
100,000 fires on the first night, 50,000 on the next, and the night after 
only 20,000. P'ang Chiian pursued them hotly, saying to himself 1 : "I 
knew these men of Ch'i were cowards : their numbers have already fallen 
away by more than half." In his retreat, Sun Pin came to a narrow 
defile, which he calculated that his pursuers would reach after dark. 
Here he had a tree stripped of its bark, and inscribed upon it the words : 
"Under this tree shall P'ang Chuan die." Then, as night began to fall, 
he placed a strong body of archers in ambush near by, with orders to 
shoot directly they saw a light. Later on, P'ang Chuan arrived at the 
spot, and noticing the tree, struck a light in order to read what was 
written on it. His body was immediately riddled by a volley of arrows, 
and his whole army thrown into confusion. [The above is Tu Mu's 
version of the story; the Shih Chi, less dramatically but probably with 
more historical truth, makes P'ang Chuan cut his own throat with an 
exclamation of despair, after the rout of his army.] 

He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it. 

20. By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; 
then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him. 
This would appear to be the meaning if we retain 3X, which Mei 
Yao-ch'en explains as TSC "men of spirit." The Tu Shu reads 



39 ^ JW Si 3f RiJ ih 

an emendation suggested by 3 Jg| Li Ching. The meaning then 
would be, "He lies in wait with the main body of his troops.". 

2 1 . The clever combatant looks to the effect of combined 
energy, and does not require too much from individuals. 

Tu Mu says : "He first of all considers the power of his army in the 
bulk; afterwards he takes individual talent into account, and uses each 
man according to his capabilities. He does not demand perfection from 
the untalented." 

Hence his ability to pick out the right men and to utilise 
combined energy. 

Another reading has ^ instead of 3jjjfc. It would be interesting if 
Capt. Calthrop could tell us where the following occurs in the Chinese: 
"yet, when an opening or advantage shows, he pushes it to its limits." 

22. When he utilises combined energy, his fighting men 
become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For 
it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless 
on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four- 
cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to 
go rolling down. 

Ts'ao Kung calls this fj Q 4& ffj8< "the use of natural or inherent 
power." Capt. Calthrop ignores the last part of the sentence entirely. 
In its stead he has: "So await the opportunity, and so act when the 
opportunity arrives" another absolutely gratuitous interpolation. The 
T l ung Tien omits ^ . 

23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men 
is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a 
mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the 
subject of energy. 

The T'ung Tien omits || . The chief lesson of this chapter, in Tu 
Mu's opinion, is the paramount importance in war of rapid evolutions 
and sudden rushes. "Great results," he adds, "can thus be achieved with 
small forces." 


0rt ./fa. |4.* 
)L 7C ^ 


Chang Yu attempts to explain the sequence of chapters as follows: 
"Chapter IV, on Tactical Dispositions, treated of the offensive and the 
defensive; chapter V, on Energy, dealt with direct and indirect methods. 
The good general acquaints himself first with the theory of attack and 
defence, and then turns his attention to direct and indirect methods. He 
studies the art of varying and combining these two methods before pro- 
ceeding to the subject of weak and strong points. For the use of direct 
or indirect methods arises out of attack and defence, and the perception 
of weak and strong points depends again on the above methods. Hence 
the present chapter comes immediately after the chapter on Energy." 

1 . Sun Tzu said : Whoever is first in the field and awaits 
the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; 
whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle, 
will arrive exhausted. 

Instead of l|| , the Yu Lan has in both clauses the stronger word JjH . 

'7^. l9> 

For the antithesis between ^ and 2fi , cf. I. 23, where however %ft 
is used as a verb. 

2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on 
the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be 
imposed on him. 

The next paragraph makes it clear that |*jj[ does not merely mean, 
as Tu Mu says, ^ j| Jfc |^ ^ to make the enemy approach me," 
but rather to make him go in any direction I please. It is thus practically 
synonymous with fljjj . Cf. Tu Mu's own note on V. 19. One mark 
of a great soldier is that he fights on his own terms or fights not at all. * 
* See Col. Henderson's biography of Stonewall Jackson, 1902 ed., vol. II, p. 490- 



3. By holding out advantages to him, he can cause the 
enemy to approach of his own accord; or, by inflicting 
damage, he can make it, impossible .for the e;iemy to 
draw near. 

In the first case^-he will entice him with a bait; in the second, he will 
strike at some important point which the enemy will have to defend. 

4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him ; 

This passage may be cited as evidence against Mei Yao-Ch'en's inter- 
pretation of I. 23. 

if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; 

/ ||H is probably an older form than -^| , the reading of the original text. 
Both are given in the gj ^. 

if quietly encamped, he can force him to move. 

The subject to ofe is still sS jg& ^& ; but these clauses would read 

J Nii 1=1 \ >\ H ' 

better as direct admonitions, and in the next sentence we find Sun Tzu 
dropping insensibly into the imperative. 

5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to 
defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected. 

The original text, adopted by the T l u Shu, has |jj lit $f ~jf> jfH ; 

it has been altered to suit the context and the commentaries of Ts'ao 
Kung and Ho Shih, who evidently read jj\ ^ . The other reading 
would mean: "Appear at points to which the enemy cannot hasten;" but 
in this case there is something awkward in the use of ^^ . Capt. Calthrop 
is wrong of course with "appearing where the enemy is not." 

6. An army may march great distances without distress, 
if it marches through country where the enemy is not. 

We must beware of understanding ^ ^ jjjjj as "uninhabited 
country." Sun Tzu habitually uses A in the sense of ||, e.g. supra, 2. 


Ts'ao Kung sums up very well : Jfj ^ lj |J[ $j| JL Jyf ->J- |jg S 

^ J "Emerge from the void [q. d. like "a bolt from the blue"], strike 
at vulnerable points, shun places that are defended, attack in unexpected 
quarters." The difference of meaning between ^ and ^ is worth noting. 

7. You can be sure of succeding in your attacks if you 
only attack places which are undefended. 

j ^ TJP is of course hyperbolical; Wang Hsi rightly explains it as 
"weak points; that is to say, where the general is lacking in capacity, or 
the soldiers in spirit; where the walls are not strong enough, or the pre- 
cautions not strict enough; where relief comes too late, or provisions are 
too scanty, or the defenders are variance amongst themselves." 

You can ensure the safety of your defence if you only 
hold positions that cannot be attacked. 

I. e., where there are none of the weak points mentioned above. There 
is rather a nice point involved in the interpretation of this latter clause. 
Tu Mu, Ch'en Hao, and Mei Yao-ch'en assume the meaning to be: "In 
order to make your defence quite safe, you must defend even those places 
that are not likely to be attacked;" and Tu Mu adds: "How much more, 
then, those that will be attacked." Taken thus, however, the clause balances 
less well with the preceding always a consideration in the highly anti- 
thetical style which is natural to the Chinese. Chang Yii, therefore, seems 
to come nearer the mark in saying: "He who is skilled in attack flashes 
forth from the topmost heights of heaven [see IV. 7], making it impos- 
sible for the enemy to guard against him. This being so, the places that 
I shall attack are precisely those that the enemy cannot defend . . . He 
who is skilled in defence hides in the most secret recesses of the earth, 
making it impossible for the enemy to estimate his whereabouts. This 
being so, the places that I shall hold are precisely those that the enemy 
cannot attack." 

8. Hence that general is skilful in attack whose opponent 
does not know what to defend ; and he is skilful in defence 
whose opponent does not know what to attack. 

An aphorism which puts the whole art of war into a nutshell. 


91 $ II 


9. O divine art of sublety and secrecy! Through you 
we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; 

Literally, "without form or sound," but it is said of course with reference 
to the enemy. Chang Yii, whom I follow, draws no sharp distinction 
between ^ and BJft , but Tu Mu and others think that ^ indicates the 

i/o* n"r IW* 

secrecy to be observed on the defensive, and j[j|jj the rapidity to be dis- 
played in attack. The Yu Lan text differs considerably from ours, reading : 

' IK * ft tic. m m ** ^ I* it 

and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands. 

The Tung Tien has jj j|| ^J )|& >f|> fjj ^ . Capt. Calthrop's 
version of this paragraph is so remarkable that I cannot refrain from 
quoting it in full : "Now the secrets of the art of offence are not to be 
easily apprehended, as a certain shape or noise can be understood, of 
the senses; but when these secrets are once learnt, the enemy is mastered." 

10. You may advance and be absolutely irresistible, if 
you make for the enemy's weak points; you may retire 
and be safe from pursuit if your movements are more 
rapid than those of the enemy. 

The second member of the sentence is weak, because ^ TJJ" ~fe is 
nearly tautologous with 'jfi ~pj* ^ . The Yu Lan reads ||| for JJ . 

11. If we wish to fight, the enemy can be forced to 
an engagement even though he be sheltered behind a 
high rampart and a deep ditch. All we need do is to 
attack some other place that he will be obliged to relieve. 

Tu Mu says : "If the enemy is the invading party, we can cut his line 
of communications and occupy the roads by which he will have to return ; 
if we are the invaders, we may direct our attack against the sovereign 
himself." It is clear that Sun Tzu, unlike certain generals in the late 
Boer war, was no believer in frontal attacks. 


is. & ^ A 

12. If we do not wish to fight, we can prevent the 
enemy from engaging us even though the lines of our 
encampment be merely traced out on the ground. All we 
need do is to throw something odd and unaccountable in 
his way. 

In order to preserve the parallelism with n, I should prefer to follow 
the Tu Shu text, which inserts g| before jjj- Jjjjj . This extremely con- 
cise expression is intelligibly paraphrased by Chia Lin : 5j| ^ ^ ^ ||| yjffi 
"even though we have constructed neither wall nor ditch." The real 
crux of the passage lies in 3Jfe S j^f ^ -|j^ . ^ of course = jg . 

Ts'ao Kung defines 3Jg by the word j^, which is perhaps a case of 
obscurum per obscurius. Li Ch'iian, however, says : g^J -jjjj* j? fjjj ^^ ^ 
"we puzzle him by strange and unusual dispositions;" and Tu Mu finally 
clinches the meaning by three illustrative anecdotes one of ^ <^ 
Chu-ko Liang, who when occupying ftjl? 2p Yang-p'ing and about to be 
attacked by ffj Jj^ ^^ Ssu-ma I, suddenly struck his colours, stopped 
the beating of the drums, and flung open the city gates, showing only a 
few men engaged in sweeping and sprinkling the ground. This unex- 
pected proceeding had the intended effect; for Ssu-ma I, suspecting an 
ambush, actually drew off his army and retreated. What Sun Tzti is 
advocating here, therefore, is nothing more nor less than the timely use 
of "bluff." Capt. Calthrop translates: "and prevent the enemy from 
attacking by keeping him in suspense," which shows that he has not fully 
grasped the meaning of 3JJ? . 

13. By discovering the enemy's dispositions and remaining 
invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, 
while the enemy's must be divided. ^ /^^^/*vtty. 

The conclusion is perhaps not very obvious, but Chang Yii (after Mei 
Yao-ch'en) rightly explains it thus : "If the enemy's dispositions are visible, 
we can make for him in one body; whereas, our own dispositions being 
kept secret, the enemy will be obliged to divide his forces in order to 
guard against attack from every quarter." ^ is here used as an active 
verb: "to make to appear." See IV, note on heading. Capt. Calthrop's 
"making feints" is quite wrong. 


14. We cap form a single united body, while the enemy 
must split up into fractions. Hence there will be a whole 
pitted against separate parts of a whole, 

The original text has ]fy || ;pf lit -{f^ , which in accordance 
with the T^ung Tien and Yu Lan has been altered as above. I adopt 
the more plausible reading of the Tu Shu: -jj^ jj[ -J- ;pJ jit fy , 
in spite of having to refer -j- to ourselves and not to the enemy. Thus 
Tu Yu and Mei Yao-ch'en both regard -J- 1 as the undivided force, con- 
sisting of so many parts, and as each of the isolated fractions of the 
enemy. The alteration of ;gJ into ztt can hardly be right, though the 
true text might conceivably have been ^^ \fy -[- it JpJ ~ffi -jfj^ . 

which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few. 

15. And if we are able thus to attack an inferior force 
with a superior one, our opponents will be in dire straits. 

For Jjg , the Tung Tien and Yu Lan have j| . Tu Yu, followed by 

the other commentators, arbitrarily defines J^J as /j^ fjjj ^ )j|p "few 
and easy to conquer," but only succeeds thereby in making the sentence 
absolutely pointless. As for Capt. Calthrop's translation: "In superiority 
of numbers there is economy of strength," its meaning is probably known 
to himself alone. In justification of my own rendering of jj^J , I would 
refer to Lun Yu IV. 2 and VII. 25 (3). 

1 6. The spot where we intend to fight must not be 
made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare 
against a possible attack at several different points; 

Sheridan once explained the reason of General Grant's victories by 
saying that "while his opponents were kept fully employed wondering 
what he was going to do, he was thinking most of what he was going to 
do himself." 

and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, 
the numbers we shall have to face at any given point 
will be proportionately few. 


19. & *R ifc *fe *u ifc f 

17. For should the enemy strengthen his van, he will 
weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will 
weaken his van; should he strengthen his left, he will 
weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will 
weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, 
he will everywhere be weak. 

In Frederick the Great's Instructions to his Generals we read: "A 
defensive war is apt to betray us into too frequent detachment. Those 
generals who have had but little experience attempt to protect every point, 
while those who are better acquainted with their profession, having only 
the capital object in view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce 
in smaller misfortunes to avoid greater." 

1 8. Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare 
against possible attacks; numerical strength, from compelling 
our adversary to make these preparations against us. 

The highest generalship, in Col. Henderson's words, is "to compel the 
enemy to disperse his army, and then to concentrate superior force against 
each fraction in turn." 

19. Knowing the place and the time of the coming 
battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in 
order to fight. 

There is nothing about "defeating" anybody in this sentence, as Capt. 
Calthrop translates. What Sun Tzu evidently has in mind is that nice 
calculation of distances and that masterly employment of strategy which 
enable a general to divide his army for the purpose of a long and rapid 
march, and afterwards to effect a junction at precisely the right spot and 
the right hour in order to confront the enemy in overwhelming strength. 
Among many such successful junctions which military history records, 
one of the most dramatic and decisive was the appearance of Bliicher 
just at the critical moment on the field of Waterloo. 




20. But if neither time nor place be known, then the 
left wing will be impotent to succour the right, the right 
equally impotent to succour the left, the van unable to 
relieve the rear, or the rear to support the van. How 
much more so if the furthest portions of the army are anything 
under a hundred li apart, and even the nearest are separated 
by several li\ 

The Chinese of this last sentence is a little lacking in precision, but 
the mental picture we are required to draw is probably that of an army 
advancing towards a given rendez-vous in separate columns, each of which 
has orders to be there on a fixed date. If the general allows the various 
detachments to proceed at haphazard, without precise instructions as to 
the time and place of meeting, the enemy will be able to annihilate the 
army in detail. Chang Yii's note may be worth quoting here : "If we do 
not know the place where our opponents mean to concentrate or the day 
on which they will join battle, our unity will be forfeited through our 
preparations for defence, and the positions we hold will be insecure. 
Suddenly happening upon a powerful foe, we shall be brought to battle 
in a flurried condition, and no mutual support will be possible between 
wings, vanguard or rear, especially if there is any great distance between 
the foremost and hindmost divisions of the army." 

2 1 . Though according to my estimate the soldiers of 
Yiieh exceed our own in number, that shall advantage 
them nothing in the matter of victory. 

Capt. Calthrop omits J^j[ 3S, teF ^ , and his translation of the remainder 
is flabby and inaccurate. As Sun Tzu was in the service of the Jj Wu 
State, it has been proposed to read J& instead of ^* a wholly un- 
necessary tampering with the text. Yiieh coincided roughly with the present 
province of Chehkiang. Li Ch'iian very strangely takes ^ not as the 
proper name, but in the sense of jj^ "to surpass." No other commentator 
follows him. JJ|f j| belongs to the class of expressions like ^ jj 

"distance," - /J> "magnitude," etc., to which the Chinese have to resort 


22. n. HI 

23. ft ffij 

in order to express abstract ideas of degree. The T'u Shu, however, 

omits J|j . 

I say then that victory can be achieved. 

Alas for these brave words ! The long feud between the two states ended 
in 473 B. C. with the total defeat of Wu by ^J {^ Kou Chien and its 
incorporation in Yiieh. This was doubtless long after Sun Tzu's death. 
With his present assertion compare IV. 4 : ^ fjf ffl jffl ^ "pf jj^ 
(which is the obviously mistaken reading of the Yu Lan here). Chang Yu 
is the only one to point out the seeming discrepancy, which he thus goes 
on to explain: "In the chapter on Tactical Dispositions it is said, 'One 
may know how to conquer without being able to do it,' whereas here we 
have the statement that 'victory can be achieved.' The explanation is, 
that in the former chapter, where the offensive and defensire are under 
discussion, it is said that if the enemy is fully prepared, one cannot make 
certain of beating him. But the present passage refers particularly to the 
soldiers of Yiieh who, according to Sun Tzu's calculations, will be kept 
in ignorance of the time and place of the impending struggle. That is 
why he says here that victory can be achieved." 

22. Though the enemy be stronger in numbers, we may 
prevent him from fighting. 

Capt. Calthrop quite unwarrantably translates : "If the enemy be many 
in number, prevent him," etc. 

Scheme so as to discover his plans and the likelihood of 
their success. 

This is the first of four similarly constructed sentences, all of which 
present decided difficulties. Chang Yii explains 2$ fl| ^ ^ If as 
J$ fi ffj- ; ^ -^C This is perhaps the best way of taking the 
words, though Chia Lin, referring g-j- to ourselves and not the enemy, 

offers the alternative of^^^^^ff^^^-tfc "Know 
beforehand all plans conducive to our success and to the enemy's failure." 

y 23. Rouse him, and learn the principle of his activity 
or inactivity. 

Instead of ft , the T'ung Tien, Yii Lan, and also Li Ch'uan's text 
have ^ , which the latter explains as "the observation of omens," and 
Chia Lin simply as "watching and waiting." ft is defined by Tu Mu 


as Wi t ' and Chang Yu te U s us ^at by noting the joy or anger shown 
by the enemy on being thus disturbed, we shall be able to conclude 
whether his policy is to lie low or the reverse. He instances the action 
of Chu-ko Liang, who sent the scornful present of a woman's head-dress 
to Ssu-ma I, in order to goad him out of his Fabian tactics. 

Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable 

Two commentators, Li Ch'uan and Chang Yii, take ^^ ^ in the 
sense of ^ ~ "put on specious appearances." The former says: "You 
may either deceive the enemy by a show of weakness striking your 
colours and silencing your drums; or by a show of strength making a 
hollow display of camp-fires and regimental banners." And the latter 
quotes V. 19, where ^ ^ certainly seems to bear this sense. On the 
other hand, I would point to 13 of this chapter, where J|J must with 
equal certainty be active. It is hard to choose between the two inter- 
pretations, but the context here agrees better, I think, with the one that 
I have adopted. Another difficulty arises over Tfa : ^ Wj> which 

most of the commentators, thinking no doubt of the ^ J|Jj in XI. i, 
refer to the actual ground on which the enemy is encamped. The notes 
of Chia Lin and Mei Yao-ch'en, however, seem to favour my view. The 
same phrase has a somewhat different meaning in I. 2. 

24. Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, 

Tu Yu is right, I think, in attributing this force to ^j| : Ts'ao Kung 
defines it simply as ip" . Capt. Calthrop surpasses himself with the stag- 
gering translation "Flap the wings" ! Can the Latin cornu (in its figurative 
sense) have been at the back of his mind? 

so that you may know where strength is superabundant 
and where it is deficient. 
Cf. IV. 6. 

25. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch 
you can attain is to conceal them ; 

The piquancy of the paradox evaporates in translation. ifljE J^ is 
perhaps not so much actual invisibility (see supra, 9) as "showing no 
sign" of what you mean to do, of the plans that are formed in your brain. 


so. 5 

81 H l^W * If 


conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the 
prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the 
wisest brains. 

ft Hj is expanded by Tu Mu into g| ^ |gj fg- '$ ^ | Jfc. 
[For P|] ,see XIII, note on heading.] He explains J# ^jf in like fashion : 

^^^it^^iti<flt& " thou h the enem y ma y 

have clever and capable officers, they will not be able to lay any plans 
against us." 

26. How victory may be produced for them out of the 
enemy's own tactics - - that is what the multitude cannot 

All the commentators except Li Ch'iian make ^ refer to the enemy. 
So Ts'ao Kung: @ $ ^ ffij lfc Jjf . ^ is defined as jf . The 
T*u Shu has iS, with the same meaning. ^ee IV. 13. The Yu Lan 
reads ^ , evidently a gloss. v 3nxiL 

27. All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, 
but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory 
is evolved. ^/>C^^fy 

I. e. t everybody can see superficially how a battle is won; what they 
cannot see is the long series of plans and combinations which has preceded 
the battle. It seems justifiable, then, to render the first J^ by "tactics" 
and the second by "strategy." 

28. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you 
one victory, but let your methods be regulate_d r ^y the 
infinite variet of circumstances. , 

As Wang Hsi sagely remarks: "There is 
underlying victory, but the tactics (Jf) which lead up to it are infinite 
in number." With this compare Col. Henderson; "The rules of strategy 
are few and simple. They may be learned in a week. They may be 
taught by familiar illustrations or a dozen diagrams. But such knowledge 
will no more teach a man to lead an army like Napoleon than a knowledge 
of grammar will teach him to write like Gibbon." 


* X 2JBJI ff IH S 1 

31. ^ m *& m m m & m n. m 

32. i& 

33. is 

29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in 
its natural course runs away from high places and hastens 

ff is ^j| jj: ^ Liu Chou-tzu's reading for ^ in the original text. 

30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and 
to strike at what is weak. 

Like water, taking the line of least resistance. 

31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of 
the ground over which it flows; 

The Tung Tien and Yu Lan read ^j|J J& , the latter also fljlj Jft . 
The present text is derived from Cheng Yu-hsien. 

the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe 
whom he is facing. 

32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, 
so in warfare there are no constant conditions. 

33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his 
opponent and thereby succeed in winning, rqay be called 
a heaven-born captain. JT 

34. The five elements 
Water, fire, wood, metal, earth. 
are not always equally predominant; 

That is, as Wang Hsi says: ffi; ;j"|J "^f -jj^ "they predominate 


the four seasons make ^ay for each other in turn. 
Literally, "have no invariabl, seat>>> 

There are short days a^ long; the moon has its periods 
of waning and waxing. 

Cf. V. 6. The purport of the passage j s s i mp iy to illustrate the want 
of fixity in war by the chang s constant i y taking place in Nature. The 
comparison is not very happ.^ however, because the regularity of the 
phenomena which Sun Tzu m n ti ons i s by no means paralleled in war. 



The commentators, as well as the subsequent text, make it clear that 
this is the real meaning of j|f ^jj . Thus, Li Ch'iian says that ^ 
means ^ ^] "marching rapidly to seize an advantage"; Wang Hsisays: 

^ ^^M^f M 9A W* "' Strivin g' means striving for an advan- 
tage; this being obtained, victory will follow;" and Chang Yii : ppjj jj? 

ffi ^j" f75 ^p 1 ^J ifc "The two armies face to face, and each striving 
to obtain a tactical advantage over the other." According to the latter 
commentator, then, the situation is analogous to that of two wrestlers 
manoeuvring for a "hold," before coming to actual grips. In any case, 
we must beware of translating 4JJ 1 by the word "fighting" or "battle," as 
if it were equivalent to |g^ . Capt. Calthrop falls into this mistake. 

1 . Sun Tzu said : In war, the general receives his com- 
mands from the sovereign. 

For jB: there is another reading ^ , which Li Ch'uan explains as 
:& Jfj ^ -gjj "being the reverent instrument of Heaven's chastisement." 

2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, 
he must blend and harmonise the different elements thereof 
before pitching his camp. 

Ts'ao Kung takes ^p as referring to the ;pp p^ or main gate of the 

military camp. This, Tu Mu tells us, was formed with a couple of flags 

hung across. [Cf. Chou Li, ch. xxvii. fol. 3 r of the Imperial edition : 

lit JS^ P^ ] ^fc ffi would then mean "setting up his Jfft ^ opposite 

that of the enemy." But Chia Lin's explanation, which has been adopted 


Jt * 4^ 1^ 


above, is on the whole simpler and better. Chang Yii, while following 
Ts'ao Kung, adds that the words may also be taken to mean "the 
establishment of harmony and confidence between the higher and lower 
ranks before venturing into the field;" and he quotes a saying of Wu 
Tzu (chap, i ad init.}: "Without harmony in the State, no military ex- 
pedition can be undertaken; without harmony in the army, no battle 
array can be formed." In the historical romance j|J J^|j ^|J ||j| , chap. 

75, Sun Tzti himself is represented as saying to -^ 8 Wu Yiian: -fc 

Jl ff & Z & fa ft E '& & It W ft ffi "As a 

general rule, those who are waging war should get rid of all domestic 
troubles before proceeding to attack the external foe." ^ is defined 
as jj^ . It here conveys the notion of encamping after having taken 
the field. 

3. After that, comes tactical manoeuvring-, than which 
there is nothing more difficult. 

I have departed slightly from the traditional interpretation of Ts'ao 
Kung, who says: ^^^^^^^5^11^ "From 
the time of receiving the sovereign's instructions until our encampment 
over against the enemy, the tactics to be pursued are most difficult." It 
seems to me that the jp[ ^- tactics or manoeuvres can hardly be said 
to begin until the army has sallied forth and encamped, and Ch'en Hao's 
note gives colour to this view: "For levying, concentrating, harmonising 
and intrenching an army, there are plenty of old rules which will serve. 
The real difficulty comes when we engage in tactical operations." Tu Yu 
also observes that "the great difficulty is to be beforehand with the enemy 
in seizing favourable positions." 

The difficulty of tactical manoeuvring consists in turning 
the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain. 

jyi x 'jjfa ]jf[ is one of those highly condensed and somewhat enig- 
matical expressions of which Sun Tzu is so fond. This is how it is ex- 
plained by Ts'ao Kung: ^jaU^S^M^itSifc 

"Make it appear that you are a long way off, then cover the distance 
rapidly and arrive on the scene before your opponent." Tu Mu says: 
"Hoodwink the enemy, so that he may be remiss and leisurely while you 
are dashing along with the utmost speed." Ho Shih gives a slightly 
different turn to the sentence: "Although you may have difficult ground 
to traverse and natural obstacles to encounter, this is a drawback which 


can be turned into actual advantage by celerity of movement." Signal 
examples of this saying are afforded by the two famous passages across 
the Alps that of Hannibal, which laid Italy at his mercy, and that of 
Napoleon two thousand years later, which resulted in the great victory 
of Marengo. 

4. Thus, to take a long and circuitous route, after 
enticing the enemy out of the way, and though starting 
after him, to contrive to reach the goal before him, shows 
knowledge of the artifice of deviation. 

Chia Lin understands ^ as the enemy's line of march, thus : "If our 
adversary's course is really a short one, and we can manage to divert 
him from it ( ^J ^ ) either by simulating weakness or by holding out 
some small advantage, we shall be able to beat him in the race for good 
positions." This is quite a defensible view, though not adopted by any 
other commentator. ^ of course = jjj| , and ^ and ^Q are to be 

taken as verbs. Tu Mu cites the famous march of j|& -^ Chao She 
in 270 B.C. to relieve the town of j|f| Ijjl O-yii, which was closely in- 
vested by a ^ps; Ch'in army. [It should be noted that the above is the 
correct pronunciation of ^ ]M , as given in the commentary on the 
Cfrien Han Shu, ch. 34. Giles' dictionary gives "Yii-yii," and Chavannes, 
I know not on what authority, prefers to write "Yen-yii." The name 
is omitted altogether from Playfair's "Cities and Towns."] The King of 
Chao first consulted j|| ^ Lien P'o on the advisability of attempting 
a relief, but the latter thought the distance too great, and the intervening 
country too rugged and difficult. His Majesty then turned to Chao She, 
who fully admitted the hazardous nature of the march, but finally said : 
"We shall be like two rats fighting in a hole and the pluckier one 
will win !" So he left the capital with his army, but had only gone a 
distance of 30 // when he stopped and began throwing up intrenchments. 
For 28 days he continued strengthening his fortifications, and took care 
that spies should carry 'the intelligence to the enemy. The Ch'in general 
was overjoyed, and attributed his adversary's tardiness to the fact that 
the beleaguered city was in the Han State, and thus not actually part of 
Chao territory. But the spies had no sooner departed than Chao She 
began a forced march lasting for two days and one night, and arrived on 
the scene of action with such astonishing rapidity that he was able to 
occupy a commanding position on the ^ [Jj "North hill" before the enemy 


5. ffiJC 5. ff 3iS ^ 

c. 5 rfii ^ ^ 

had got wind of his movements. A crushing defeat followed for the Ch'in 
forces, who were obliged to raise the siege of O-yii in all haste and retreat 
across the border. [See jjj |g, chap. 81.] 

5. Manoeuvring with an army is advantageous; with an 
undisciplined multitude, most dangerous. 

I here adopt the reading of the Tung Tien, Cheng Yu-hsien and the 
T'u Shu, where ^ appears to supply the exact nuance required in order 
to make sense. The standard text, on the other hand, in which j|F is 
repeated, seems somewhat pointless. The commentators take it to mean 
that manoeuvres may be profitable, or they may be dangerous: it all 
depends on the ability of the general. Capt. Calthrop translates ^ ^ 
"the wrangles of a multitude" ! 

6. If you set a fully equipped army in march in order 
to snatch an advantage, the chances are that you will be 
too late. 

The original text has ^jfc instead of J^; but a verb is needed to 
balance 23. 

On the other hand, to detach a flying column for the 
purpose involves the sacrifice of its baggage and stores. 

^ j|? is evidently unintelligible to the Chinese commentators, who 
paraphrase the sentence as though it began with pj| ijijg . Absolute 
tautology in the apodosis can then only be avoided by drawing an im- 
possibly fine distinction between iSb and ^ . I submit my own rendering 
without much enthusiasm, being convinced that there is some deep-seated 
corruption in the text. On the whole, it is clear that Sun Tzu does not 
approve of a lengthy march being undertaken without supplies. Cf. in- 
fra, ii. 

7. Thus, if you order your men to roll up their buff-coats, 

^g; Ep does not mean "to discard one's armour," as Capt. Calthrop 
translates, but implies on the contrary that it is to be carried with you. 
Chang Yii says: Jg ^g ^ ^ "This means, in full panoply." 


9. 3L + ffi m & m M m m s 

10. = + m ffij ^ ft) iw = z M 

and make forced marches without halting day or night, 
covering double the usual distance at a stretch, 

The ordinary day's march, according to Tu Mu, was 30 li\ but on one 
occasion, when pursuing ^|J ^ Liu Pei, Ts'ao Ts'ao is said to have 
covered the incredible distance of 300 li within twenty-four hours. 

doing a hundred li in order to wrest an advantage, the 
leaders of all your three divisions will fall into the hands 
of the enemy. 

8. The stronger men will be in front, the jaded ones 
will fall behind, and on this plan only one-tenth of your 
army will reach its destination. 

For j|j , see II. 14. The moral is, as Ts'ao Kung and others point 
out: Don't march a hundred li to gain a tactical advantage, either with 
or without impedimenta. Manoeuvres of this description should be con- 
fined to short distances. Stonewall Jackson said: "The hardships of 
forced marches are often more painful than the dangers of battle." He 
did not often call upon his troops for extraordinary exertions. It was 
only when he intended a surprise, or when a rapid retreat was impera- 
tive, that he sacrificed everything to speed.* 

9. If you march fifty li in order to outmanoeuvre the 
enemy, you will lose the leader of your first division, and 
only half your force will reach the goal. 

jjjjfc is explained as similar in meaning to ^: literally, "the leader 
of the first division will be torn away." Cf. Tso Chuan, 3| i9th year: 
>fe IH j^ lit 2J "This is a case of [the falling tree] tearing up 
its roots." 

10. If you march thirty li with the same object, two- 
thirds of your army will arrive. 

In the Tung Tien is added: j $ | "From this 

we may know the difficulty of manoeuvring." 

* See Col. Henderson, op. cit. vol. I. p. 426. 

i.i. We may take it then that an army without its 
baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without 
bases of supply it is lost. 

5^ j^jji is explained by Tu Yu as ^^ ffi ^ Jj| "fodder and the 
like;" by Tu Mu and Chang Yii as ^ ^ "goods in general;" and by 
Wang Hsi as ^ |j|jj j|g j^f %, JB " fuel > salt > foodstuffs, etc." But I think 
what Sun Tzu meant was "stores accumulated in depots," as distinguished 
from ifem Jff and S & , the various impedimenta accompanying an 
army on its march. Cf. Chou Li, ch. xvi. fol. 10: 2J A . . . ?(/ lr 

1 2. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted 
with the designs of our neighbours. 

j& -^Q. Li Ch'iian understands it as 'JJH "guard against," which 
is hardly so good. An original interpretation of ^j? is given by Tu Mu, 
who says it stands for ^ Ji or ^ fjjrj^ "join in battle." 

13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march un- 
\ less we are familiar with the face of the country its 

^mountains and forests, its pitfalls 

Ujjjr, defined as J^j] ^ (Ts'ao Kung) or J^ ^ (Chang Yu). 
and precipices, 

[$H , defined as "^ ~T^ . 
its marshes 

ja, defined as 
and swamps. 
g|, defined as 

14. We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to 
account unless we make use of local guides. 
1214 are repeated in chap. XI. 52. 


M m m 

15. In war, practise dissimulation, and you will succeed. 

According to Tu Mu, jfc stands for jfc )0. Cf. I. 18. In the 
tactics of Turenne, deception of the enemy, especially as to the numerical 
strength of his troops, took a very prominent position. * 

Move only if there is a real advantage to be gained. 

This is the interpretation of all the commentators except Wang Hsi, ^ 
who has the brief note g^ ^ -fy "Entice out the enemy" (by offering 
him some apparent advantage). / 

1 6. Whether to concentrate or to divide your troops,^ 
must be decided by circumstances. 

17. Let your rapidity be that of the wind, 

The simile is doubly appropriate, because the wind is not only swift * 
but, as Mei Yao-*ch'en points out, 3jt j^ $fc "invisible and leaves 
no tracks." 

your compactness that of the forest. 

It is hardly possible to take |jj here in its ordinary sense of "sedate," 
as Tu Yu tries to do. Meng Shih comes nearer the mark in his note 
^ "tr ^H ^f 'fT ?'J "W nen slowly marching, order and ranks must 
be preserved" - so as to guard against surprise attacks. But natural 
forests do not grow in rows, whereas they do generally possess the quality 
of density or compactness. I think then that Mei Yao-ch'en uses the 
right adjective in saying #p ^ ^ ^ ^ . 

1 8. In raiding and plundering be like fire, 

Cf. Shih Ching, IV. 3. iv. 6: fa ^ ^ %\ g|J ^ ft # ^ 

"Fierce as a blazing fire which no man can check." 

in immovability like a mountain. 

That is, when holding a position from which the enemy is trying to 
dislodge you, or perhaps, as Tu Yu says, when he is trying to entice you 
into a trap. 

* For a number of maxims on this head, see "Marshal Turenne" (Longmans, 
1907), p. 29. 



19. Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, 
and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt. 

The original text has j|| instead of U . Cf. IV. 7. Tu Yu quotes 
a saying of T'ai Kung which has passed into a proverb : ^ ^ ^f\ ~fc 
^ If ^ 1|) ^f 2 IjlC @ "You cannot shut your ears to the 
thunder or your eyes to the lightning so rapid are they." Likewise, 
an attack should be made so quickly that it cannot be parried. 

20. When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be 
divided amongst your men; 

The reading of Tu Yu, Chia Lin, and apparently Ts'ao Kung, is ^ 
|S) ft $$, > wmcn is explained as referring to the subdivision of the 
army, mentioned in V. i, 2, by means of banners and flags, serving 
to point out ( ^[ ) to each man the way he should go ( |fj] ). But this 
is very forced, and the ellipsis is too great, even for Sun Tzu. Luckily, 
the T'ung Tien and Yu Lan have the variant |j|j , which not only sug- 
gests the true reading ^pjj, but affords some clue to the way in which 
the corruption arose. Some early commentator having inserted [6] as 
the sound of ^|J , the two may afterwards have been read as one character; 
and this being interchangeable with |pjj, ^p|5 must finally have disap- 
peared altogether. Meanwhile, ;jjt would have been altered to ^ in 
order to make sense. As regards ^ ^J , I believe that Ho Shih 
alone has grasped the real meaning, the other commentators understanding 
it as "dividing the men into parties'' to search for plunder. Sun Tzu 
wishes to lessen the abuses of indiscriminate plundering by insisting that 
all booty shall be thrown into a common stock, which may afterwards 
be fairly divided amongst all. 

when you capture new territory, cut it up into allotments 
for the benefit of the soldiery. 

That this is the meaning, may be gathered from Tu Mu's note : ^i 
*5 *I KIJ # flj ja^f ^ 5. The H & gives the same 
advice: U jfa 3gi )fj5 means "to enlarge" or "extend" at the 
expense of the enemy, understood. Cf. Shih Ching, III. i. vii. i: |^ 

" hatin g all the great States." Ch'en Hao also says lg & 
"quarter your soldiers on the land, and let them sow and plant 



it." It is by acting on this principle, and harvesting the lands they in- 
vaded, that the Chinese have succeeded in carrying out some of their 

most memorable and triumphant expeditions, such as that of Jff ^3 
Pan Ch'ao who penetrated to the Caspian, and in more recent years, 
those of jjig J| jfc Fu-k'ang-an and ^ ^ ^ Tso Tsung-t'ang. 

2 1 . Ponder and deliberate 

Note that both these words, like the Chinese ^ /pH , are really meta- 
phors derived from the use of scales. 

before you make a move. 

Chang Yu quotes Jpsf j| -^r as saying that we must not break camp 
until we have gauged the resisting power of the enemy and the clever- 
ness of the opposing general. Cf. the "seven comparisons" in I. 13. 
Capt. Calthrop omits this sentence. 

22. He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of 

See supra, 3, 4. 
Such is the art of manoeuvring. 

With these words, the chapter would naturally come to an end. But 
there now follows a long appendix in the shape of an extract from an 
earlier book on War, now lost, but apparently extant at the time when 
Sun Tzu wrote. The style of this fragment is not noticeably different 
from that of Sun Tzu himself, but no commentator raises a doubt as to 
its genuineness. 

23. The Book of Army Management says: 

It is perhaps significant that none of the earlier commentators give us 
any information about this work. Mei Yao-Ch'en calls it jj? ^ ^ JpL 
"an ancient military classic," and Wang Hsi, ~^ jff U "an old book on 
war." Considering the enormous amount of fighting that had gone on 
for centuries before Sun Tzu's time between the various kingdoms and 
principalities of China, it is not in itself improbable that a collection of 
military maxims should have been made and written downraf some e^r- 
lier period. V 

6 4 


On the field of battle, 
Implied, though not actually in the Chinese. 

the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the 
institution of gongs and drums. 

I have retained the words <* gfc of the original text, which recur in 
the next paragraph, in preference to the other reading j|{? ^f K drums 
and bells," which is found in the T^ung Tien, Pel T l ang Shu Cfcao and 
Yu Lan. ^p is a bell with a clapper. See Lun Yu III. 24, Chou Li 
XXIX. 15, 29. > of course would include both gongs and bells of 
every kind. The T'-u Shu inserts a ^ after each ^jjj . 

Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence 
the institution of banners and flags. 

24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means 
whereby the ears and eyes of the host 

The original text, followed by the T'-u Shu, has ^ for ||J here and 
in the next two paragraphs. But, as we have seen, A is generally used in Sun 
Tzti for the enemy. 

may be focussed on one particular point. 

Note the use of as a verb. Chang Yu says : jjj^ jg J^j 7Jj |J|J 

$WH^iti,#B-^^ " If si S ht and hearin g converge 
simultaneously on the same object, the evolutions of as many as a million 
soldiers will be like those of a single man" ! 

25. The host thus forming a single united body, it is 
impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for 
the cowardly to retreat alone. 

Chang Yu quotes a saying: J j & 4 

| "Equally guilty are those who advance against orders 
and those who retreat against orders." Tu Mu tells a story in this con- 
nection of J^. ^g Wu Ch'i, when he was righting against the Ch'in State. 
Before the battle had begun, one of his soldiers, a man of matchless 
daring, sallied forth by himself, captured two heads from the enemy, and 


27. j&HS PT^^&mi^'tt 

returned to camp. Wu Ch'i had the man instantly executed, whereupon 
an officer ventured to remonstrate, saying : "This man was a good soldier, 
and ought not to have been beheaded." Wu Ch'i replied: "I fully be- 
lieve he was a good soldier, but I had him beheaded because he acted 
without orders." 

This is the art of handling large masses of men. 

26. In night-fighting, then, make much use of signal- 
fires and drums, and in fighting by day, of flags and 
banners, as a means of influencing the ears and eyes of 
your army. 

The Tung Tien has the bad variant ||j for $jj& . With regard to the 
latter word, I believe I have hit off the right meaning, the whole phrase 
being slightly elliptical for "influencing the movements of the army through 
their senses of sight and hearing." Li Ch'iian, Tu Mu and Chia Lin 
certainly seem to understand it thus. The other commentators, however, 
take |jj (or J^ ) as the enemy, and ^j& as equivalent to ^|& ~^ or %jj& 

Hk "to perplex" or "confound." This does not agree so well with what 
has gone before, though on the other hand it renders the transition to 
27 less abrupt. The whole question, I think, hinges on the alternative 
readings ^ and J\^. The latter would almost certainly denote the 
enemy. Ch'en Hao alludes to ^ -^ JS? L * Kuang-pi's night ride to 

W HI? Ho-yang at the head of 500 mounted men; they made such an 
imposing display with torches, that though the rebel leader ifl JB^ M 
Shih Ssu-ming had a large army, he did not dare to dispute their pas- 
sage. [Ch'en Hao gives the date as ^ =j^ ^j^ A.D. 756; but according 

to the ffi )!* || New T'ang History, ^|J ^j| 61, it must have been 
later than this, probably 760.] 

27. A whole army may be robbed of its spirit; 

"In war," says Chang Yu, "if a spirit of anger can be made to pervade 
all ranks of an army at one and the same time, its onset will be irresistible. 
Now the spirit of the enemy's soldiers will be keenest when they have 
newly arrived on the scene, and it is therefore our cue not to fight at 
once, but to wait until their ardour and enthusiasm have worn off, and 
then strike. It is in this way that they may be robbed of their keen spirit." 
Li Ch'uan and others tell an anecdote (to be found in the Tso Chuan, 




year 10, i) of Ifj J||j Ts'ao Kuei, & protege of Duke Chuang 
of Lu. The latter State was attacked by Ch'i, and the Duke was about 
to join battle at -M J\\ Ch'ang-cho, after the first roll of the enemy's 
drums, when Ts'ao said: "Not just yet." Only after their drums had 
beaten for the third time, did he give the word for attack. Then they 
fought, and the men of Ch'i were utterly defeated. Questioned after- 
wards by the Duke as to the meaning of his delay, Ts'ao Kuei replied: 
"In battle, a courageous spirit is everything. Now the first roll of the 
drum tends to create this spirit, but with the second it is already on the 
wane, and after the third it is gone altogether. I attacked when their 
spirit was gone and ours was at its height. Hence our victory." J^. -^ 
(chap. 4) puts "spirit" first among the "four important influences" in war, 
and continues: = 

' .A. x 11 HH t^Sl "The value of a whole army a mighty host 
of a million men is dependent on one man alone: such is the influence 
of spirit!" 

a commander-in-chief may be robbed of his presence of mind. 
Capt. Calthrop goes woefully astray with "defeat his general's ambition." 
Chang Yu says: tf $ ft ft -& - ^ * '!* % 
J^ Ao* "Presence of mind is the general's most important asset. It is 
the quality which enables him to discipline disorder and to inspire cour- 
age into the panic-stricken." The great general d^5 ij{| Li Ching (A.D. 

571-649) has a saying: ^^^^lt^S^$S|$ff3 

B *)k ^ ?& S ^ $3 Oil " Attackin g does not merely consist in 
assaulting walled cities or striking at an army in battle array; it must in- 
clude the art of assailing the enemy's mental equilibrium." [ ^jjj ^f , pt. 3.] 

28. Now a soldier's spirit is keenest in the morning; 

Always provided, I suppose, that he has had breakfast. At the battle 
of the Trebia, the Romans were foolishly allowed to fight fasting, whereas 
Hannibal's men had breakfasted at their leisure. See Livy, XXI, liv. 8, 
Iv. i and 8. 

by noonday it has begun to flag; and in the evening, 
his mind is bent only on returning to camp. 

29. A clever general, therefore, 

6 7 


82. M g IE IE z m to * ^ 2 it ft 7c? n ^ * 

The jjgjjf , which certainly seems to be wanted here, is omitted in the 
Tu Shu. 

avoids an army when its spirit is keen, but attacks it 
when it is sluggish and inclined to return. This is the 
art of studying moods. 

The T l ung Tien, for reasons of ^ gj|[ "avoidance of personal names 

of the reigning dynasty," reads jfjt for p in this and the two next 

30. Disciplined and calm, to await the appearance of 
disorder and hubbub amongst the enemy: - - this is the 
art of retaining self-possession. 

31. To be near the goal while the enemy is still far 
from it, to wait at ease 

The T l ung Tien has ^ for / ^ . The two characters are practically 
synonymous, but according to the commentary, the latter is the form 
always used in Sun Tzu. 

while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed 
while the enemy is famished: - - this is the art of hus- 
banding one's strength. 

32. To refrain from intercepting 

*| is the reading of the original text. But the J 1jj> |g |j 

quotes the passage with 4 yao 1 (also meaning "to intercept"), and this 
is supported by the Pei T'ang Shu Cfrao, the Yu Lan, and Wang Hsi's text. 

an enemy whose banners are in perfect order, to refrain 
from attacking an army drawn up in calm and confident array: 

For this translation of ^ 'jg* , I can appeal to the authority of Tu 
Mu, who defines the phrase as 3&E ||^ . The other commentators 
mostly follow Ts'ao Kung, who says -^ , probably meaning "grand and 

imposing". Li Ch'iian, however, has ^ Jfr "in subdivisions," which is 
somewhat strange. 



this is the art of studying circumstances. 

I have not attempted a uniform rendering of the four phrases yj^ ^ , 
'/p Aj) i */p J] an d yjpf ^ though y|^ really bears the same meaning 
in each case. It is to be taken, I think, not in the sense of "to govern" 
or "control," but rather, as K'ang Hsi defines it, = fj|j ^ "to examine 
and practise," hence "look after," "keep a watchful eye upon." We may 
find an example of this use in the Chou Li, XVIII. fol. 46 : yj=f fi -fc fljH . 
Sun Tzti has not told us to control or restrain the quality which he calls 
^pj?, but only to observe the time at which it is strongest. As for j(^, 
it is important to remember that in the present context it can only mean 
"presence of mind." To speak of "controlling presence of mind" is ab- 
surd, and Capt. Calthrop's "to have the heart under control" is hardly 
less so. The whole process recommended here is that of VI. 2 : 

33. It is a military axiom not to advance uphill against 
the enemy, nor to oppose him when he comes downhill. 

" " The Yii Lan reads ^fe for -T . 

lr" 14 

34. Do not pursue an enemy who simulates flight; do 
not attack soldiers whose temper is keen. 

35. Do not swallow a bait offered by the enemy. 

Li Ch'iian and Tu Mu, with extraordinary inability to see a metaphor, 
take these words quite literally of food and drink that have been poisoned 
by the enemy. Ch'en Hao and Chang Yii carefully point out that the 
saying has a wider application. The T'ung Tien reads ^ "to covet" 
instead of ^ . The similarity of the two characters sufficiently accounts 
for the mistake. 

Do not interfere with an army that is returning home. 

The commentators explain this rather singular piece of advice by saying 
that a man whose heart is set on returning home will fight to the death 
against any attempt to bar his way, and is therefore too dangerous an 
opponent to be tackled. Chang Yii quotes the words of Han Hsin: 

3& 'S 3|C li ^& i 'fcf )9f ^P >nL "I nv i nc ikl e is the soldier who 
hath his desire and returneth homewards." A marvellous tale is told of 

6 9 

Ts'ao Ts'ao's courage and resource in ch. i of the San Kuo Chih, j|f* 
*$* $E : * n *9^ A.D., he was besieging EM ||| Chang Hsiu in ;js|| Jang, 
when :||J =^j? Liu Piao sent reinforcements with a view to cutting off 
Ts'ao's retreat. The latter was obliged to draw off his troops, only to 
find himself hemmed in between two enemies, who were guarding each 
outlet of a narrow pass in which he had engaged himself. In this des- 
perate plight Ts'ao waited until nightfall, when he bored a tunnel into 
the mountain side and laid an ambush in it. Then he marched on with 
his baggage-train, and when it grew light, Chang Hsiu, finding that the 
bird had flown, pressed after him in hot pursuit. As soon as the whole 
army had passed by, the hidden troops fell on its rear, while Ts'ao him- 
self turned and met his pursuers in front, so that they were thrown into 
confusion and annihilated. Ts'ao Ts'ao said afterwards: Jjjj- j^ 3f- ^ 

to check my army in its retreat and brought me to battle in a desperate 
position: hence I knew how to overcome them." 

36. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. 

This does not mean that the enemy is to be allowed to escape. The 
object, as Tu Mu puts it, is ^ J^j[ J^ ffifr -A> ifllE jj\ ^ ^ j(^ "to 

make him believe that there is a road to safety, and thus prevent his 
fighting with the courage of despair." Tu Mu adds pleasantly : |Jj fjjj 
||< ^ "After that, you may crush him." 

Do not press a desperate foe too hard. 

For *Q, the T'u Shu reads j[|| "pursue." Ch'en Hao quotes the 

saying: ^ |p| j||J ^jj( 1& |p| |J|J [^g "Birds and beasts when brought 
to bay will use their claws and teeth." Chang Yii says: || ^jjf ^ ^j- 

^ "if? T^t ' Hfe fW >F* "Pf * IS ?$> "^ y ur a dversary has 
burned his boats and destroyed his cooking-pots, and is ready to stake 
all on the issue of a battle, he must not be pushed to extremities." The 
phrase jj| ^g doubtless originated with Sun Tzti. The /* Wen Yun Fu 
gives four examples of its use, the earliest being from the Ch'ien Han Shu^ 
and I have found another in chap. 34 of the same work. Ho Shih il- 
lustrates the meaning by a story taken from the life of ^J j|* ^|J Fu 
Yen-ch'ing in ch. 251 of the -^ jjj . That general, together with his 
colleague ^jrj^ |J Jg Tu Chung-wei, was surrounded by a vastly superior 
army of Khitans in the year 945 A.D. The country was bare and desert- 
like, and the little Chinese force was soon in dire straits for want of 


37. ft flj :H 2 ft fc 

water. The wells they bored ran dry, and the men were reduced to 
squeezing lumps of mud and sucking out the moisture. Their ranks 
thinned rapidly, until at last Fu Yen-ch'ing exclained : "We are desperate 
men. Far better to die for our country than to go with fettered hands 
into captivity!" A strong gale happened to be blowing from the north- 
east and darkening the air with dense clouds of sandy dust. Tu Chung- 
wei was for waiting until this had abated before deciding on a final at- 
tack; but luckily another officer, ^* ^J* jl Li Shou-cheng by name, 
was quicker to see an opportunity, and said: "They are many and we are 
few, but in the midst of this sandstorm our numbers will not be discernible; 
victory will go to the strenuous fighter, and the wind will be our best 
ally." Accordingly, Fu Yen-ch'ing made a sudden and wholly unexpected 
onslaught with his cavalry, routed the barbarians and succeeded in breaking 
through to safety. [Certain details in the above account have been added 
from the g ^ 4 , ch. 78.] 

37. Such is the art of warfare. 

Cheng Yu-hsien in his jjj^ g^ inserts jfp after ^, I take it that 
these words conclude the extract from the S jffr which began at 23. 


The heading means literally "The Nine Variations," but as Sun Tzu 
does not appear to enumerate these, and as, indeed, he has already told 
us (V. 6 n) that such deflections from the ordinary course are prac- 
tically innumerable, we have little option but to follow Wang Hsi, who 
says that "Nine" stands for an indefinitely large number. "All it means 
is that in warfare ^ jjjfe it $jj& we ought to vary our tactics to the 
utmost degree ... I do not know what Ts'ao Kung makes these Nine 
Variations out to be [the latter's note is^^Jg^fij^j 1 ^^ 
-Jjj^ ], but it has been suggested that they are connected with the Nine 
Situations" of chap. XI. This is the view adopted by Chang Yii: 
see note on ^ ijjj, 2. The only other alternative is to suppose that 
something has been lost a supposition to which the unusual shortness 
of the chapter lends some weight. 

1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his com- 
mands from the sovereign, collects his army and concentrates 
his forces. 

Repeated from VII. i, where it is certainly more in place. It may 
have been interpolated here merely in order to supply a beginning to 
the chapter. 

2. When in difficult country, do not encamp. 
For explanation of J^J ]fy , see XI. 8. 

In country where high roads intersect, join hands with 
your allies. 

See XI, 6, 12. Capt. Calthrop omits 

7 2 

Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions. 

& Jjjj is not one of the Nine Situations as given in the beginning of 
chap. XI, but occurs later on (ibid. 43, q. v.). We may compare it with 
jg $fa (XI. 7). Chang Yii calls it a ^ $g ijjj, situated across 
the frontier, in hostile territory. Li Ch'iian says it is "country in which 
there are no springs or wells, flocks or herds, vegetables or firewood;" 
Chia Lin, "one of gorges, chasms and precipices, without a road by which 
to advance." 
In hemmed-in situations, you must resort to stratagem. 

See XI. 9, 14. Capt. Calthrop has "mountainous and wooded 
country," which is a quite inadequate translation of [j] . 

In a desperate position, you must fight. 

See XI. 10, 14. Chang Ytt has an important note here, which 
must be given in full. "From Jg, ijjj fiffi ^ ," he says, "down to this 
point, the Nine Variations are presented to us. The reason why only five 
are given is that the subject is treated en precis ( Jjjf; Jt -fc $fa fy ). 
So in chap. XI, where he discusses the variations of tactics corresponding 
to the Nine Grounds, Sun Tzu mentions only six variations; there again 
we have an abridgment. [I cannot understand what Chang Yii means 
by this statement. He can only be referring to 1114 or 46 50 
of chap. XI; but in both places all the nine grounds are discussed. Per- 
haps he is confusing these with the Six ^Jj J^ of chap. X.] All kinds 
of ground have corresponding military positions, and also a variation of 
tactics suitable to each ( j^ jfy ^ <jj 7^ $j& ). In chap. XI, what 
we find enumerated first [ 2 10] are the situations; afterwards [ 1 1 14] 
the corresponding tactics. Now, how can we tell that the "^ J||j& "Nine 
Variations" are simply the ^ jfy ^ %jj& "variations of tactics corres- 
ponding to the Nine Grounds"? It is said further on [ 5] that 'the 
general who does not understand the nine variations of tactics may be 
well acquainted with the features of the country, yet he will not be able 
to turn his knowledge to practical account.' Again, in chap. XI [ 41] 
we read : 'The different measures adapted to the nine varieties of ground 
( ^L Mfe 'HI ) an( ^ ^ e ex P e diency of aggressive or defensive tactics 
must be carefully examined.' From a consideration of these passages the 
meaning is made clear. When later on the nine grounds are enumerated, 
Sun Tzu recurs to these nine variations. He wishes here to speak of the 
Five Advantages [see infra, 6], so he begins by setting forth the Nine 
Variations. These are inseparably connected in practice, and therefore 
they are dealt with together." The weak point of this argument is the 
suggestion that 3 IJJ "five things" can stand as a - , that is, an 


abstract or abridgment, of nine, when those that are omitted are not less 
important than those that appear, and when one of the latter is not in- 
cluded amongst the nine at all. 

3. There are roads which must not be followed, 

"Especially those leading through narrow defiles," says Li Ch'iian, 
"where an ambush is to be feared." 

armies which must not be attacked, 

More correctly, perhaps, "there are times when an army must not be 
attacked." Ch'en Hao says: "When you see your way to obtain a trivial 
advantage, but are powerless to inflict a real defeat, refrain from attacking, 
for fear of overtaxing your men's strength." 


Capt. Calthrop says "castles" an unfortunate attempt to introduce 
local colour. 

which must not be besieged, 

Cf. III. 4. Ts'ao Kung gives an interesting illustration from his own 
experience. When invading the territory of ^ yft Hsu-chou, he ignored 
the city of jSE Jjjj? Hua-pi, which lay directly in his path, and pressed 
on into the heart of the country. This excellent strategy was rewarded 
by the subsequent capture of no fewer than fourteen important district 
cities. Chang Yu says: "No town should be attacked which, if taken, 
cannot be held, or if left alone, will not cause any trouble " ^j jj 
Hsiin Ying, when urged to attack >fg Kjl? Pi-yang, replied: "The city is 
small and well-fortified; even if I succeed in taking it, 't will be no great 
feat of arms ; whereas if I fail, I shall make myself a laughing-stock." 
In the seventeenth century, sieges still formed a large proportion of war. 
It was Turenne who directed attention to the importance of marches, 
countermarches and manoeuvres. He said: "It is a great mistake to 
waste men in taking a town when the same expenditure of soldiers will 
gain a province." * 

positions which must not be contested, commands of the 
sovereign which must not be obeyed. 

This is a hard saying for the Chinese, with their reverence for au- 
thority, and Wei Liao Tzu (quoted by Tu Mu) is moved to exclaim: 

* "Marshal Turenne," p. 50. 


5. # ^ m t$ % -I m % m & MU ye ^ mn 

6- '/ ^ ^ 531 #,& * SI 2fl 3E. fU ^ .H ft A 

. " Weapons 

are baleful instruments, strife is antagonistic to virtue, a military com- 
mander is the negation of civil order !" The unpalatable fact remains, 
however, that even Imperial wishes must be subordinated to military 
necessity. Cf. III. 17. (5), X. 23. The Tung Tien has $f ^ 1|[ 
before ^& ^ , etc. This is a gloss on the, words by Chu-ko Liang, which 
being repeated by Tu Yu became incorporated with the text. Chang Yii 
thinks that these five precepts are the 3JL ?PJ referred to in 6. Another 
theory is that the mysterious ~j\^ %jj& are here enumerated, starting with 

and endin at *tb W j^r ^ ^ ' while the final clause 

embraces and as it were sums up all the nine. Thus 
Ho Shih says : "Even if it be your sovereign's command to encamp in diffi- 
cult country, linger in isolated positions, etc., you must not do so." The 
theory is perhaps a little too ingenious to be accepted with confidence. 

4. The general Ivho thoroughly understands the advan- 
tages that accompany variation of tactics knows how to 
handle his troops. 

Before 7J;|J in the original text there is a ^|j which is obviously not 

5. The general who does not understand these, may be 
well acquainted with the configuration of the country, yet he 
will not be able to turn his knowledge to practical account. 

Literally, "get the advantage of the ground," which means not only 
securing good positions, but availing oneself of natural advantages in 
every possible way. Chang Yii says : "Every kind of ground is characterised 
by certain natural features, and also gives scope for a certain variability 
of plan. How is it possible to turn these natural features to account 
unless topographical knowledge is supplemented by versatility of mind?" 

6. So, the student of war who is unversed in the art 
of varying his plans, even though he be acquainted with 
the Five Advantages, will fail to make the best use of 
his men. 


M J-ftflfr 

Ts<ao Kung says that the 3 ^|J are ~^C 3 |Jj ^ "the five things 
that follow;" but this cannot be right. We must rather look back to the 
five "variations" contained in 3. Chia Lin (who reads jfc ^|j& here to 
balance the 5t %\\ ) te ^ s us tnat these imply five obvious and generally 
advantageous lines of action, namely : "if a certain road is short, it must 
be followed; if an army is isolated, it must be attacked; if a town is in 
a parlous condition, it must be besieged; if a position can be stormed, it 
must be attempted ; and if consistent with military operations, the ruler's 
commands must be obeyed." But there are circumstances which some- 
times forbid a general to use these advantages. For instance, "a certain 
road may be the shortest way for him, but if he knows that it abounds 
in natural obstacles, or that the enemy has laid an ambush on it, he 
will not follow that road. A hostile force may be open to attack, but if 
he knows that it is hard-pressed and likely to fight with desperation, he 
will refrain from striking," and so on. Here the *|& comes in to modify 
the ^|J , and hence we see the uselessness of knowing the one without 
the other of having an eye for weaknesses in the enemy's armour 
without being clever enough to recast one's plans on the spur of the mo- 
ment. Capt. Calthrop offers this slovenly translation : "In the manage- 
ment of armies, if the art of the Nine Changes be understood [stf\, a 
knowledge of the Five Advantages is of no avail." 

7. Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of 
advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together. 

"Whether in an advantageous position or a disadvantageous one," says 
Ts'ao Kung, "the opposite state should be always present to your mind." 

8. If our expectation of advantage be tempered in this 
way, we may succeed in accomplishing the essential part 
of our schemes. 

>j=| , according to Tu Mu, is equivalent to ^ , and %jfc Tfj" ^ -j^ 

is paraphrased by Chang Yii as "jjj* Jj[ ^jp ^ lf Tu Mu S oes 
on to say: "If we wish to wrest an advantage from the enemy, we must 
not fix our minds on that alone, but allow for the possibility of the enemy 
also doing some harm to us, and let this enter as a factor into our cal- 

9. If, on the other hand, in the midst of difficulties we 

7 6 

are always ready to seize an advantage, we may extricate 
ourselves from misfortune. 

A translator cannot emulate the conciseness of J^ "to blend 
[thoughts of advantage] with disadvantage," but the meaning is as given. 
Tu Mu says : "If I wish to extricate myself from a dangerous position, I 
must consider not only the enemy's ability to injure me, but also my 
own ability to gain an advantage over the enemy. If in my counsels 
these two considerations are properly blended, I shall succeed in liberating 
myself. . . For instance, if I am surrounded by the enemy and only think 
of effecting an escape, the nervelessness of my policy will incite my ad- 
versary to pursue and crush me; it would be far better to encourage my 
men to deliver a bold counter-attack, and use the advantage thus gained 
to free myself from the enemy's toils." See the story of Ts'ao Ts'ao, VII. 
35, note. In his first edition, Capt. Calthrop translated 7 9 as 
follows: "The wise man perceives clearly wherein lies advantage and 
disadvantage. While recognising an opportunity, he does not overlook 
the risks, and saves future anxiety." This has now been altered into: 
"The wise man considers well both advantage and disadvantage. He 
sees a way out of adversity, and on the day of victory to danger is not blind" 
Owing to a needless inversion of the Chinese, the words which I have 
italicised are evidently intended to represent 8 ! 

10. Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on 

Chia Lin enumerates several ways of inflicting this injury, some of 
which would only occur to the Oriental mind: "Entice away the 
enemy's best and wisest men, so that he may be left without counsellors. 
Introduce traitors into his country, that the government policy may be 
rendered futile. Foment intrigue and deceit, and thus sow dissension 
between the ruler and his ministers. By means of every artful contri- 
vance, cause deterioration amongst his men and waste of his treasure. 
Corrupt his morals by insidious gifts leading him into excess. Disturb 
and unsettle his mind by presenting him with lovely women." Chang Yu 
(after Wang Hsi) considers the ^ to be military chastisement: "Get the 
enemy," he says, "into a position where he must suffer injury, and he 
will submit of his own accord." Capt. Calthrop twists Sun Tzu's words 
into an absurdly barbarous precept: "In reducing an enemy to submis- 
sion, inflict all possible damage upon him." 

make trouble for them, 

UH is defined by Ts'ao Kung as it}. , and his definition is generally 


adopted by the commentators. Tu Mu, however, seems to take it in the 
sense of "possessions," or, as we might say, "assets," which he considers 

to be ^ JK H W A 3 ^ ff " a lar S e arm y' a rich exchequer, 
harmony amongst the soldiers, punctual fulfilment of commands." These 
give us a whip-hand over the enemy. 

and keep them constantly engaged; 

^, literally, "make servants of them." Tu Yu says ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 
"prevent them from having any rest." 

hold out specious allurements, and make them rush to 
any given point. 

Meng Shih's note contains an excellent example of the idiomatic use 
of *|& : "^ T^J %jj& pjj JJ g|? "cause them to forget pien (the reasons 
for acting otherwise than on their first impulse), and hasten in our 

1 1 . The art of war teaches us to rely not on the like- 
lihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readi- 
ness to receive him; 

The Tung Tien and Yu Lan read ^ || ^ ^ ifc but the 

conciser form is more likely to be right. 

not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the 
fact that we have made our position unassailable. 

The Tung Tien and Yu Lan insert 3 -^ a ft e r the first ]^ , and 
omit # Jft , 

1 2 . There are five dangerous faults which may affect 
a general: (i) Recklessness, which leads to destruction; 

_p| fjfjj ffiE j|T % "Bravery without forethought," as Ts'ao Kung analyses 
it, which causes a man to fight blindly and desperately like a mad bull. 
Such an opponent, says Chang Yii, "must not be encountered with brute 
force, but may be lured into an ambush and slain." Cf. Wu Tzti, chap. IV 

<^ Mt, ji A 


"In estimating the character of a general, men are wont to pay exclusive 
attention to his courage, forgetting that courage is only one out of many 
qualities which a general should possess. The merely brave man is prone 
to fight recklessly; and he who fights recklessly, without any perception 
of what is expedient, must be condemned." Ssu-ma Fa, too, makes the 
incisive remark _t ^ >5 ^ "Simply going to one's death does not 
bring about victory." 

(2) cowardice, which leads to capture- 

' Jj> 0^ is explained by Ts'ao Kung of the man "whom timidity pre- 
vents from advancing to seize an advantage," and Wang Hsi adds, "who 
is quick to flee at the sight of danger." Meng Shih gives the closer 
paraphrase ^ jjfc |r ^ "he who is bent on returning alive," that is, 
the man who will never take a risk. But, as Sun Tzti knew, nothing is 
to be achieved in war unless you are willing to take risks. T'ai Kung 
said: -fc %\] ^ fl^f ^ g S $& "He who lets an advantage slip 
will subsequently bring upon himself real disaster." In 404 A.D., Jjjj\ ^t 
Liu Yii pursued the rebel ^g "& Huan Hsiian up the Yangtsze and 
fought a naval battle with him at |Jj|J. |]||| ty\\ the island of Ch'eng- 
hung. The loyal troops numbered only a few thousands, while their op- 
ponents were in great force. But Huan Hsuan, fearing the fate which 
was in store for him should he be overcome, had a light boat made fast 
to the side of his war-junk, so that he might escape, if necessary, at a 
moment's notice. The natural result was that the fighting spirit of his 
soldiers was utterly quenched, and when the loyalists made an attack 
from windward with fireships, all striving with the utmost ardour to be 
first in the fray, Huan Hsuan's forces were routed, had to burn all their 
baggage and fled for two days and nights without stopping. [See ^|p jfe 

chap. 99, fol. 13.] Chang Yii tells a somewhat similar story of ^ ffl 7Jjf> 
Chao Ying-ch'i, a general of the Chin State who during a battle with the 
army of Ch'u in 597 B.C. had a boat kept in readiness for him on the 
river, wishing in case of defeat to be the first to get across. 

(3) a hasty temper, which can be provoked by insults ; 

I fail to see the meaning of Capt. Calthrop's "which brings insult." 
Tu Mu tells us that $|c j| Yao Hsiang, when opposed in 357 A.D. by 
^ Jg Huang Mei, ^ =fe Teng Ch'iang and others, shut himself up 
behind his walls and refused to fight. Teng Ch'iang said: "Our adver- 
sary is of a choleric temper and easily provoked; let us make constant 
sallies and break down his walls, then he will grow angry and come out. 


Once we can bring his force to battle, it is doomed to be our prey." 
This plan was acted upon, Yao Hsiang came out to fight, was lured on 
as far as ^ j* San-yuan by the enemy's pretended flight, and finally 
attacked and slain. 

(4) a delicacy of honour which is sensitive to shame ; 

This need not be taken to mean that a sense of honour is really a 
defect in a general. What Sun Tzti condemns is rather an exaggerated 
sensitiveness to slanderous reports, the thin-skinned man who is stung by 
opprobrium, however undeserved. Mei Yao-ch'en truly observes, though 
somewhat paradoxically: ^j|J ^^ ~jf\ |p| "The seeker after glory should 
be careless of public opinion." 

(5) over-solicitude for his men, which exposes him to 
Worry and trouble. 

Here again, Sun Tzu does not mean that the general is to be careless 
of the welfare of his troops. All he wishes to emphasise is the danger 
of sacrificing any important military advantage to the immediate comfort 
of his men. This is a shortsighted policy, because in the long run the 
troops will suffer more from the defeat, or, at best, the prolongation of 
the war, which will be the consequence. A mistaken feeling of pity will 
often induce a general to relieve a beleaguered city, or to reinforce a 
hard-pressed detachment, contrary to his military instincts. It is now 
generally admitted that our repeated efforts to relieve Ladysmith in the 
South African War were so many strategical blunders which defeated 
their own purpose. And in the end, relief came through 'the very man 
who started out with the distinct resolve no longer to subordinate the 
interests of the whole to sentiment in favour of a part. An old soldier 
of one of our generals who failed most conspicuously in this war, tried 
once, I remember, to defend him to me on the ground that he was 
always "so good to his men." By this plea, had he but known it, he 
was only condemning him out of Sun Tzti's mouth. 

13. These are the five besetting sins of a general, 
ruinous to the conduct of war. 

14. When an army is overthrown and its leader slain, 
the cause will surely be found among these five dangerous 
faults. Let them be a subject of meditation. 


The contents of this interesting chapter are better indicated in i than 
by this heading. 

i . Sun Tzu said : We come now to the question of 
encamping the army, and observing signs of the enemy. 

The discussion of j|| jl? , as Chang Yii points out, extends from here 
down to ^ ^ #f IK & ifc <SS i-'7), and ^| $j from that 
point down to jj\ ^jjjjl &j ^ ( 18 39). The rest of the chapter 
consists of a few desultory remarks, chiefly on the subject of discipline. 

Pass quickly over mountains, 

For this use of jjfa, cf. infra, 3. See also ^fjj* -^ , ch. i. fol. 2 
(standard edition of 1876): $jjfc fa JjjJ*; Shih Chi, ch. 27 ad init.: 

and keep in the neighbourhood of valleys. 

Tu Mu says that ^ here = jj. The idea is, not to linger among 
barren uplands, but to keep close to supplies of water and grass. Capt. 
Calthrop translates "camp in valleys," heedless of the very next sentence. 
Cf. Wu Tzu, ch. 3 : ^ | ^ |g "Abide not in natural ovens," /. e. 
^ ^ ^ IH " the openings of large valleys." Chang Yii tells the fol- 
lowing anecdote : " j |j|$ ^g Wu-tu Ch'iang was a robber captain in 
the time of the Later Han, and Jj| ^ Ma Yuan was sent to exterminate 
his gang. Ch'iang having found a refuge in the hills, Ma Yuan made no 
attempt to force a battle, but seized all the favourable positions com- 
manding supplies of water and forage. Ch'iang was soon in such a 
desperate plight for want of provisions that he was forced to make a total 
surrender. He did not know the advantage of keeping in the neighbour- 
hood of valleys." 



2. Camp in high places, 

Not on high hills, but on knolls or hillocks elevated above the sur- 
rounding country. 

facing the sun. 

jjjj^ [::=: |fj [j|^ . Tu Mu takes this to mean "facing south," and 
Ch'en Hao "facing east." Cf. infra, n, 13. 

Do not climb heights in order to fight. 

^jg is here simply equivalent to "jf|f . The T'ung Tien and Yu Lan 
read |J . 
So much for mountain warfare. 

After [Jj , the Tung Tien and Yu Lan insert ^ . 

3. After crossing a river, you should get far away from it. 

"In order to tempt the enemy to cross after you," according to Ts'ao 
Kung, and also, says Chang Yu, "in order not to be impeded in your 
evolutions." The Tung Tien reads j| ^ %jb -fa " lf the enem y crosses 
a river," etc. But in view of the next sentence, this is almost certainly 
an interpolation. 

4. When an invading force crosses a river in its on- 
ward march, do not advance to meet it in mid-stream. 
It will be best to let half the army get across, and then 
deliver your attack. 

The T'ung Tien and Yu Lan read Jg for ^ , without change of 
meaning. Wu Tzu plagiarises this passage twice over: ch. II ad fin., 


Ch'iian alludes to the great victory won by Han Hsin over ^|[ fl Lung 
Chu at the yjj^ Wei River. Turning to the Ch'ien Han Shu, ch. 34, fol. 6 
verso, we find the battle described as follows: "The two armies were 
drawn up on opposite sides of the river. In the night, Han Hsin ordered 
his men to take some ten thousand sacks filled with sand and construct 
a dam a little higher up. Then, leading half his army across, he at- 



. ft fcJMR ftJl it M ft ft 

tacked Lung CM; but after a time,, pretending to have failed in his 
attempt, he hastily withdrew to the other bank. Lung Chu was much 
elated by this unlooked-for success, and exclaiming : "I felt sure that Han 
Hsin was really a coward!" he pursued him and began crossing the river 
in his turn. Han Hsin now sent a party to cut open the sandbags, thus 
releasing a great volume of water, which swept down and prevented the 
greater portion of Lung Chii's army from getting across. He then turned 
upon the force which had been cut off, and annihilated it, Lung Chu 
himself being amongst the slain. The rest of the army, on the further 
bank, also scattered and fled in all directions." 

5. If you are anxious to fight, you should not go to 
meet the invader near a river which he has to cross. 

For fear of preventing his crossing. Capt. Calthrop makes the injunction 
ridiculous by omitting 

6. Moor your craft higher up than the enemy, and 
facing the sun. 

See supra, 2. The repetition of these words in connection with water 
is very awkward. Chang Yii has the note : al/ S ;J| "1SJ (fifi p -^C 

* ^^ /i xyy_ X*"ft tsSj\. *^?^4 /+ 

-t i0 f} if ^1 M i| fffi Jt ft " Said either of tro P s marshalled 
on the river-bank, or of boats anchored in the stream itself; in either 
case it is essential to be higher than the enemy and facing the sun." 
The other commentators are not at all explicit. One is much tempted 
to reject their explanation of jjjj^ /Jl altogether, and understand it simply 

as "seeking safety.'' [Cf. Jjfc B in VIII. 12, and infra, 9.] It is true 

that this involves taking jjjj^ in an unusual, though not, I think, an im- 
possible sense. Of course the earlier passage would then have to be 
translated in like manner. 

Do not move up-stream to meet the enemy. 

Tu Mu says: "As water flows downwards, we must not pitch our camp 
on the lower reaches of a river, for fear the enemy should open the 
sluices and sweep us away in a flood. This is implied above in the words 
J|jj^ ^ ||J jfyj . Chu-ko Wu-hou has remarked that 'in river warfare 
we must not advance against the stream,' which is as much as to say 
that our fleet must not be anchored below that of the enemy, for then 
they would be able to take advantage of the current and make short 
work of us." There is also the danger, noted by other commentators, 


that the enemy may throw poison on the water to be carried down 
to us. Capt. Calthrop's first version was: "Do not cross rivers in the 
face of the stream" a sapient piece of advice, which made one curious 
to know what the correct way of crossing rivers might be. He has now 
improved this into: "Do not fight when the enemy is between the army 
and the source of the river." 

So much for river warfare. 

7. In crossing salt-marshes, your sole concern should 
be to get over them quickly, without any delay. 

Because of the lack of fresh water, the poor quality of the herbage, 
and last but not least, because they are low, flat, and exposed to attack. 

8. If forced to fight in a salt-marsh, you should have 
water and grass near you, and get your back to a clump 
of trees. 

Li Ch'uan remarks that the ground is less likely to be treacherous 
where there are trees, while Tu Yu says that they will serve to protect 
the rear. Capt. Calthrop, with a perfect genius for going wrong, says "in 
the neighbourhood of a marsh." For ^k the T l ung Tien and Ytt Lan 
wrongly read ^|J , and the latter also has ^g instead of ^* . 

So much for operations in salt-marshes. .1 

9. In dry, level country, take up an easily accessible 

This is doubtless the force of Jjj^j , its opposite being |^ . Thus, Tu 

Mu explains it as -JJ3 ^ ^f i$8 ^ |fl "ground that is smooth and 
firm," and therefore adapted for cavalry; Chang Ytt as ;JfJ ^ fit J^ 
Rl ^ ilk "l eve l ground, free from depressions and hollows." He adds 
later on that although Sun Tzu is discussing flat country, there will never- 
theless be slight elevations and hillocks. 

with rising ground to your right and on your rear, 

8 4 

io. Jl ift P9 W 5 

11. ii it sx9 3E4Ht 9 it 

12. # ffi m n w ^ *n # 

The Yii Lan again reads ^ for ^ . Tu Mu quotes T'ai Kung as 
saying : "An army should have a stream or a marsh on its left, and a hill 
or tumulus on its right." 

so that the danger may be in front, and safety lie behind. 
Wang Hsi thinks that ^ ^ contradicts the saying jjj^ j: in 2, 
and therefore suspects a mistake in the text. 

So much for campaigning in flat country. 

10. These are the four useful branches of military 

Those, namely, concerned with (i) mountains, (2) rivers, (3) marshes, 
and (4) plains. Compare Napoleon's "Military Maxims," no. i. 

which enabled the Yellow Emperor to vanquish four several 

Mei Yao-ch'en asks, with some plausibility, whether jjj is not a mistake 
for jpT "armies," as nothing is known of Huang Ti having conquered 
four other Emperors. The Shih Chi (ch. I ad init.) speaks only of his 
victories over jj *jjj* Yen Ti and j^ -fa Ch'ih Yu. In the ^ |?g 
it is mentioned that he "fought seventy battles and pacified the Empire." 
Ts'ao Kung's explanation is, that the Yellow Emperor was the first to 
institute the feudal system of vassal princes, each of whom (to the number 
of four) originally bore the title of Emperor. Li Chfcian tells us that the 
art of war originated under Huang Ti, who received it from his Minister 
M, J5f Feng Hou. 

1 1 . All armies prefer high ground to low, 

"High ground," says Mei Yao-ch'en, "is not only more agreeable and 
salubrious, but more convenient from a military point of view; low 
ground is not only damp and unhealthy, but also disadvantageous for 
fighting." The original text and the T l u Shu have ^jp instead of Jal . 

and sunny places to dark. 

12. If you are careful of your men, 

Ts'ao Kung says: [fi] fc ^ ~pf $ >$ ^ ^ "Make for fresh 
water and pasture, where you can turn out your animals to graze." And 


the other commentators follow him, apparently taking ^^ as = ffi . 
Cf. Mencius, V. i. ix. i, where ^jji ffi ^- means a cattle-keeper. But 
here ^ jr surely has reference to the health of the troops. It is the 
title of Chuang Tzii's third chapter, where it denotes moral rather than 
physical well-being. 

and camp on hard ground, 

jj must mean dry and solid, as opposed to damp and marshy, ground. 
This is to be found as a rule in high places, so the commentators explain 
jj as practically equivalent to "Jj|j . 

the army will be free from disease of every kind, 

Chang Yii says: "The dryness of the climate will prevent the outbreak 
of illness." 

and this will spell victory. 

13. When you come to a hill or a bank, occupy the 
sunny side, with the slope on your right rear. Thus you 
will at once act for the benefit of your soldiers and utilise 
the natural advantages of the ground. 

14. When, in consequence of heavy rains up-country, 
a river which you wish to ford is swollen and flecked 
with foam, you must wait until it subsides. 

The T'ung Tien and Ya Lan have a superfluous ~~J\ before fc . 

15. Country in which there are precipitous cliffs with 
torrents running between, 

% ffi , explained by Mei Yao-ch'en as^^l^l^^C^^^I. 
deep natural hollows, 

^ # , explained as |3J @J ^ ^ ffl l #f Hf V^ces enclosed 
on every side by steep banks, with pools of water at the bottom." 

confined places, 


^ 5}5 "natural pens or prisons," explained as ^ jgj J|| ^g ^ 

^A HE HJ "P laces surrounded by precipices on three sides easy to 
get into, but hard to get out of." 
tangled thickets, 

^ |f, explained as ^ ^ ^ ^ |f |g ^ |g "places covered 
with such dense undergrowth that spears cannot be used." 


^ jig, explained as ^ "pfflffig $. ^ ^ M "low-lying places, 
so heavy with mud as to be impassible for chariots and horsemen." 

and crevasses, 

^ |$$ is explained by MeiYao-ch^n as ^ tH ffi [6) ^ ^ jfc ^ 

"a narrow difficult way between beetling cliffs," but Ts'ao Kung says 

UJ $1 it *H[ ilb ^ ft E K ^ ii: 3t ^. which seems to 

denote something on a much smaller scale. Tu Mu's note is j^ ^ j(S 
^HL ^t R ^k 5 "S roun( ^ covered with trees and rocks, and inter- 
sected by numerous ravines and pitfalls." This is very vague, but Chia 
Lin explains it clearly enough as a defile or narrow pass : ppjj ^ [J^ ^ 
~f& $5 "M ff5 St S' anc ^ Chang Yii takes much the same view. 
On the whole, the weight of the commentators certainly inclines to the 
rendering "defile". But the ordinary meaning of [J (a crack or fissure) 
and the fact that <^U Jfljj above must be something in the nature of a 
defile, make me think that Sun Tzu is here speaking of crevasses. The 
Tung Tien and Yil Lan read J|$ for |Jj^, with the same meaning; the 
latter also has -^ ^ after ^ J|J a palpable gloss. 
should be left with all possible speed and not approached 
1 6. While we keep away from such places, we should 
get the enemy to approach them; while we face them, 
we should let the enemy have them on his rear. 

17. If in ,the neighbourhood of your camp 

The original text has jg Jfj , but ^ has been generally adopted as 
yielding much better sense. 


is. at a B5 # it s wrto 

there should be any hilly country, 

|J& Iffi is |$ -^ 2, *& according to Chang Yu, 
ponds surrounded by aquatic grass, hollow basins filled 
with reeds, 

The original text omits 3JJL and fc, so that ^ and ^ join to make 
a pair: "ponds and basins." This is plausible enough at first sight, but 
there are several objections to the reading: (r) 3JL is unlikely to have 
got into the text as a gloss on ^; (2) it is easy to suppose, on the other 

hand, that 3j. and afterwards tk (to restore the balance of the sentence) 

" VM* i I 

were omitted by a copyist who jumped to the conclusion that gi| and ^p 
must go together; (3) the sense, when one comes to consider it, actually 
requires ^J, for it is absurd to talk of pools and ponds as in themselres 
suitable places for an ambush; (4) Li Ching (571 649 A. D.) in his 
-E j "Art of War" has the words: |f $| !g % glj # ^ g -ft . 
This is evidently a rerniniscence of Sun Tzti, so there can be little doubt 
that ^j stood in the text at this early date. It may be added that the 
T'-ung Tien and Yu Lan both have $&, and the latter also reads :yj 
for #.. 

or woods with thick undergrowth, 

I read /\\ ^ wit h tne Yii Lan in preference to [Jj ^JC, given in the 
original text, which is accepted by the commentators without question. 
The text of the T ( u Shu up to this point runs as follows: fr 

they must be carefully routed out and searched; for these 
are places where men in ambush or insidious spies are likely 
to be lurking. 

The original text omits |j^, which has been restorecj from the T~ung 
Tien and Yii Lan. The T'u Shu omits || as well, making " a sub- 

stantive. On Chang Yu has the note: 

on our guard against traitors who may lie in close covert, secretly spying 
out our weaknesses and overhearing our instructions. Fu and chien are 
to be taken separately." 

1 8. When the enemy is close at hand and remains 
quiet, he is relying on the natural strength of his position. 


19. a us & a * # A 2 at tfe 

. ft * 4 * ft 

Here begin Sun Tzu's remarks on the reading of signs, much of which 
is so good that it could almost be included in a modern manual like 
Gen. Baden-Powell's "Aids to Scouting." 

19. When he keeps aloof and tries to provoke a battle, 
he is anxious for the other side to advance. 

Probably because we are in a strong position from which he wishes to 
dislodge us. "If he came close up to us," says Tu Mu, "and tried to 
force a battle, he would seem to despise us, and there would be less 
probability of our responding to the challenge." 

20. If his place of encampment is easy of access, he 
is tendering a bait. 

Sj is here the opposite of |Jj|r in 18. The reading of the T^ung 
Tien and Yil Lan, 3t ffi $j. % fg $ %\] ifc , is pretty obviously 
corrupt. The original text, which transposes ^ and 5", niay very pos- 
sibly be right. Tu Mu tells us that there is yet another reading : 

2 1 . Movement amongst the trees of a forest shows that 
the enemy is advancing. 

Ts'ao Kung explains this as "felling trees to clear a passage," and 
Chang Yii says: "Every army sends out scouts to climb high places and 
observe the enemy. If a scout sees that the trees of a forest are moving 
and shaking, he may know that they are being cut down to clear a pas- 
sage for the enemy's march." 

The appearance of a number of screens in the midst of 
thick grass means that the enemy wants to make us 

Whenever the meaning of a passage happens to be somewhat elusive, 
Capt. Calthrop seems to consider himself justified in giving free rein to 
the imagination. Thus, though his text is here identical with ours, he 
renders the above : "Broken branches and trodden grass, as of the passing 
of a large host, must be regarded with suspicion." Tu Yu's explanation, 
borrowed from Ts'ao Kung, is as follows : "The presence of a number of 
screens or sheds in the midst of thick vegetation is a sure sign that the 
enemy has fled and, fearing pursuit, has constructed these hiding-places 

8 9 



in order to make u's suspect an ambush." It appears that these "screens" 
were hastily knotted together out of any long grass which the retreating 
enemy happened to come across. 

22. The rising of birds in their flight is the sign of an 

Chang Yii's explanation is doubtless right: "When birds that are flying 
along in a straight line suddenly shoot upwards, it means that soldiers 
are in ambush at the spot beneath." 

Startled beasts indicate that a sudden attack is coming. 

An example of JJ fou* in the meaning of "ambuscade" may be found 
in the Tso Chuan, |g 9 th year: 3jg* ^ = g[ Jj[ ffi ^ . In the 

present passage, however, it is to be distinguished from -^ just above, in 
that it implies onward motion on the part of the attacking force. Thus, 
Li Ch'iian defines it as ^ jj; ffp jg , and Tu Mu as ^ t|j ^ ^ . 

23. When there is dust rising in a high column, it is 
the sign of chariots advancing; when the dust is low, but 
spread over a wide area, it betokens the approach of 

ft f?5 IPt "high and sharp," or rising to a peak, is of course some- 
what exaggerated as applied to dust. The commentators explain the 
phenomenon by saying that horses and chariots, being heavier than men, 
raise more dust, and also follow one another in the same wheel-track, 
whereas foot-soldiers would be marching in ranks, many abreast. According 
to Chang Yii, "every army on the march must have scouts ( $fc ^ffc ^ ^ ) 
some way in advance, who on sighting dust raised by the enemy, will 
gallop back and report it to the commander-in-chief." Cf. Gen. Baden- 
Powell: "As you move along, say, in a hostile country, your eyes should 
be looking afar for the enemy or any signs of him : figures, dust rising, 
birds getting up, glitter of arms, etc." * 

When it branches out in different directions, it shows that 
parties have been sent to collect firewood. 

There is some doubt about the reading jffij. J^jJ . The T'ung Tien and 
Yil Lan have , and Li Ch'iian proposes 

* "Aids to Scouting," p. 26. 


A few clouds of dust moving to and fro signify that the 
army is encamping. 

Chang Yii says: "In apportioning the defences for a cantonment, light 
horse will be sent out to survey the position and ascertain the weak and 
strong points all along its circumference. Hence the small quantity of 
dust and its motion*" 

24. Humble words and increased preparations are signs 
that the enemy is about to advance. 

"As though they stood in great fear of us," says Tu Mu. "Their ob- 
ject is- to make us contemptuous and careless, after which they will attack 
us." Chang Yu alludes to the story of gj j|[ T'ien Tan of the Ch'i 
State, who in 279 B.C. was hard-pressed in his defence of [|p || Chi- 
mo against the Yen forces, led by jjjj^ 5J^f Ch'i Chieh. In ch. 82 of the 
Shih Chi we read: "T'ien Tan openly said: 'My only fear is that the 
Yen army may cut off the noses of their Ch'i prisoners and place them 
in the "front rank to fight against us; that would be the undoing of our 
city.' The other side being informed of this speech, at once acted on 
the suggestion; but those within the city were enraged at seeing their 
fellow-countrymen thus mutilated, and fearing only lest they should fall 
into the enemy's hands, were nerved to defend themselves more obstinately 
than ever. Once again T'ien Tan sent back converted spies who reported. 
these words to the enemy: 'What I dread most is that the men of Yen 
may dig up the ancestral tombs outside the town, and by inflicting this 
indignity on our forefathers cause us to become faint-hearted.' Forthwith 
the besiegers dug up all the graves and burned the corpses lying in them. 
And the inhabitants of Chi-mo, witnessing the outrage from the city-walls, 
wept passionately and were all impatient to go out and fight, their fury 
being increased tenfold. T'ien Tan knew then that his soldiers were 
ready for any enterprise. But instead of a sword, he himself took a mat- 
tock in his hands, and ordered others to be distributed amongst his best 
warriors, while the ranks were filled up with their wives and concubines. 
He then served out all the remaining rations and bade his men eat their 
fill. The regular soldiers were told to keep out of sight, and the walls 
were manned with the old and weaker men and with women. This 
done, envoys were despatched to the enemy's camp to arrange terms of 
surrender, whereupon the Yen army began shouting for joy. T'ien Tan 
also collected 20,000 ounces of silver from the people, and got the wealthy 
citizens of Chi-mo to send it to the Yen general with the prayer that, 
when the town capitulated, he would not allow their homes to be plundered 
or their women to be maltreated. Ch'i Chieh, in high good humour, 
granted their prayer; but his army now became increasingly slack and 


26. Jfi5 

careless. Meanwhile, T'ien Tan got together a thousand oxen, decked 
them with pieces of red silk, painted their bodies, dragon-like, with coloured 
stripes, and fastened sharp blades on their horns and well-greased rushes 
on their tails. When night came on, he lighted the ends of the rushes, 
and drove the oxen through a number of holes which he had pierced in 
the walls, backing them up with a force of 5000 picked warriors. The 
animals, maddened with pain, dashed furiously into the enemy's camp 
where they caused the utmost confusion and dismay; for their tails acted 
as torches, showing up the hideous pattern on their bodies, and the weapons 
on their horns killed or wounded any with whom they came into contact. 
In the meantime, the band of 5000 had crept up with gags in their 
mouths, and now threw themselves on the enemy. At the same moment 
a frightful din arose in the city itself, all those that remained behind 
making as much noise as possible by banging drums and hammering on 
bronze vessels, until heaven and earth were convulsed by the uproar. 
Terror-stricken, the Yen army fled in disorder, hotly pursued by the men 
of Ch'i, who succeeded in slaying their general Ch'i Chieh . . . The result 
of the battle was the ultimate recovery of some seventy cities which had 
belonged to the Ch'i State." 

Violent language and driving forward as if to the attack 
are signs that he will retreat. 

I follow the original text here, also adopted by the Tu Shu. The 
standard text reads || =jfa ffjj ij|j J|t lg| ^g- ^ fy on the strength 

of Ts'ao Kung's commentary Hfjjf g^ -j^ , which shows that his text in- 
cluded the word |^. Strong as this ground is, I do not think it can 
counterbalance the obvious superiority of the other reading in point of 
sense, g^ not only provides no antithesis to j|f , but makes the whole 
passage absurd; for if the language of the enemy is calculated to deceive, 
it cannot be known as deceitful at the time, and can therefore afford no 
"sign." Moreover, the extra word in itjj j[ |g (an awkward locu- 

tion, by the way) spoils the parallelism with 

25. When the light chariots 

The same, according to Tu Yu, as the B^ of II. $ I. 
come out first and take up a position on the wings, it 
is a sign that the enemy is forming for battle. 

The Tung Tien omits |fj . 

26. Peace proposals unaccompanied by a sworn covenant 
indicate a plot. 

9 2 




30. fffi ft tfc 

Tu Yu defines jjft as Jg $J , and Li Ch'uan as J| jg[ ;> $J "; 

treaty confirmed by oaths and hostages." Wang Hsi and Chang Yii, 01 
the other hand, simply say fit jjg "without reason," "on a frivolou 
pretext," as though ^J bore the rather unusual sense of "important.' 
Capt. Calthrop has "without consultation," which is too loose. 

27. When there is much running about 

Every man hastening to his proper place under his own regimental banner 
and the soldiers fall into rank, 

I follow the T l u Shu in omitting jjj after Jiri . Tu Mu quotes th< 
Chou Li, ch. xxix. fol. 31: ^ Qg ^ 38 # ^ TJr jfc . 
it means that the critical moment has come. 

What Chia Lin calls >g. J|J ^ flft , as opposed to || 

28. When some are seen advancing and some retreating 
it is a lure. 

Capt. Calthrop is hardly right in translating: "An advance, followed b) 
sudden retirement." It is rather a case of feigned confusion. As Tu Mi 

29. W T hen the soldiers stand leaning on their spears 
they are faint from want of food. 

^ is here probably not a synonym for ^ , but = & "a weapon.' 
The original text has ^ fflj JJL ^* which has been corrected fron 
the T l ung Tien and Yu Lan. 

30. If those who are sent to draw water begin b) 
drinking themselves, the army is suffering from thirst. 

As Tu Mu remarks: |JJ '^^^^r^ifa " One may knov 
the condition of a whole army from the behaviour of a single man." Th< 
^ may mean either that they drink before drawing water for the army 
or before they return to camp. Chang Yu takes the latter view. Th< 
Tung Tien has the faulty reading ^ - = , and the Yu Lan 

worse still, 


32- & $k % & # P* * & til 


34. * 

31. If the enemy sees an advantage to be gained 

Not necessarily "booty," as Capt. Calthrop translates it. The T l ung 
Tien and Yu Lan read fS] ^ Jjj, % |J , etc. 

and makes no effort to secure it, the soldiers are exhausted. 

32. If birds gather on any spot, it is unoccupied. 

A useful fact to bear in mind when, for instance, as Ch'en Hao says, 
the enemy has secretly abandoned his camp. 

Clamour by night betokens nervousness. 

Owing to false alarms; or, as Tu Mu explains it: Jgf |H >P ^ jjjfc 
^L ^ J^l S ifi ifc "Fear makes men restless; so they fall to shouting 
at night in order to keep up their courage." The T'ung Tien inserts 
Pj[ before |T^ . 

33. If there is disturbance in the camp, the general's 
authority is weak. If the banners and flags are shifted 
about, sedition is afoot. 

The Tung Tien and Yu Lan omit J^ . 
If the officers are angry, it means that the men are weary. 

And therefore, as Capt. Calthrop says, slow to obey. Tu Yu under- 
stands the sentence differently : "If all the officers of an army are angry 
with their general, it means that they are broken with fatigue" [owing 
to the exertions which he has demanded from them]. 

34. When an army feeds its horses with grain and 
kills its cattle for food, 

!L ,fj| |^j] ^ is expanded by Mei Yao-ch'en (following Tu Mu) into 

|p i lJaf*^.i^^^S s ^' which is the sense J 

have given above. In the ordinary course of things, the men would be 
fed on grain and the horses chiefly on grass. 

i and when the men do not hang their cooking-pots 


35. || ff H ^ f& w A A 

The 7^- TzV;* reads ^ , which is much the same as feft , and th 
Yu Lan jjj , which is manifestly wrong. 

over the camp-fires, showing that they will not return t< 
their tents, 

For }g , the Tung Tien and Yil Lan both read ^ . 

you may know that they are determined to fight to the death 
For 1jj| ^ , see VII. 36. I may quote here the illustrative passag 
from the Hou Han Shu, ch. 71, given in abbreviated form by the /"< 
Wen Yun Fu: "The rebel ^ jg] Wang Kuo of i| Liang was besiegin 
the town of |Jjj[ ^ Ch'en-ts'ang, and j|| "jjj ^f Huang-fu Sung, who wa 
in supreme command, and U j|t Tung Cho were sent out against hin 
The latter pressed for hasty measures, but Sung turned a deaf ear to h 
counsel. At last the rebels were utterly worn out, and began to thro 1 
down their weapons of their own accord. Sung was now for advancin 
to. ,the attack, but Cho said : 'It is a principle of war not to pursue dei 
perate-men and not to press a retreating host.' Sung answered: 'The 
does not apply here. What I am about to attack is a jaded army, not 
retreating host; with disciplined troops I am falling on a disorganise 
multitude, not a band of desperate men.' Thereupon he advanced t 
the attack unsupported by his colleague, and routed the enemy, Wan 
Kuo being slain." The inferior reading of the T'u Shu for 34 is z 

follows: it' Jf :fl|- A -9:|Kii-'{k V flg'^'JIf X' V4I 
1PI 7 "tfc ^ e ^ rst c ^ ause strikes me as rather shallow for Sun Tzi 
and it is hard to make anything of jjjjj: ^ in the second without th 
negative. Capt. Calthrop, nothing daunted, set down in his first edition 
"When they cast away their cooking-pots." He now has: "When th 
cooking-pots are hung up on the wall." 

35. The sight of men whispering together 

fi|[ |f|L is well explained by Tu Mu as ^ vg ^ ^jjl "speaking wit 
bated breath." 
in small knots 

The Shuo Wen rather strangely defines ^ by the word ^E, but th 
rh Ya says -A. t o join" or "contract," which is undoubtedly its pr 
mary meaning. Chang Yu is right, then, in explaining it here by th 
word Jpf . The other commentators are very much at sea: Ts'ao Kun 

l, Tu Yu ^ j^ , Tu Mu li\^^$l, Chia Li 
Mei Y ao-ch<en Bjf ^ ^ , Wang Hsi Eg ift J^ . 

36. M 

37. ;fc| 

33. # 

or speaking in subdued tones 

~/{ ^ is said to be the same as 
points to disaffection amongst the rank and file. 

-^ ^ is equivalent to -^ J[t ^ j(, the subject of course being 
"the general," understood. In the original text, which seems to be fol- 
lowed by several commentators, the whole passage stands thus: =j& |f|[ 

^^f^HAW^^c^ifc- Here h would be the s eneral 

who is talking to his men, not the men amongst themselves. For ^^ , 
which is the chief stumbling-block in the way of this reading, the T'u S/iu 
gives the very plausible emendation g^ (also read /isi, and defined by 
K'ang Hsi as ^ S "to speak fast"). But this is unnecessary if we 
keep to the standard text. 

36. Too frequent rewards signify that the enemy is 
at the end of his resources; 

Because, when an army is hard pressed, as Tu Mu says, theie is al- 
ways a fear of mutiny, and lavish rewards are given to keep the men in 
good temper. 

too many punishments betray a condition of dire distress. 

Because in such case discipline becomes relaxed, and unwonted severity 
is necessary to keep the men to their duty. 

37. To begin by bluster, but afterwards to take fright 
at the enemy's numbers, shows a supreme lack of in- 

I follow the interpretation of Ts'ao Kung: ^Q jgjt $j ^ ^ ^ ^ 
Ml] ^ HJ* fy ' also ad P ted b y Li Ch'iian, Tu Mu and Cha*ng Yii. 
Another possible meaning, set forth by Tu Yu, Chia Lin, Mei Yao-ch'en 
and Wang Hsi, is: "The general who is first tyrannical towards his men, 
and then in terror lest they should mutiny, etc." This would connect 
the sentence with what went before about rewards and punishments. The 
T'ung Tien and Yu Lan read '|*j "affection" instead of ;^| . 

38. When envoys are sent with compliments in their 
mouths, it is a sign that the enemy wishes for a truce. 

9 6 

40. ^ it * * * Ji * IH t * A 

Tu Mu says: #f R # * ft * Q 

ifc ^ $fc ^ A tit " If tlie enemv P en fr i en dly relations by sending 
hostages, it is a sign that they are anxious for an armistice, either because 
their strength is exhausted or for some other reason." But it hardly 
needs a Sun Tzu to draw such an obvious inference; and although Tu 
Mu is supported by Mei Yao-ch'en and Chang Yii, I cannot think that 
hostages are indicated by the word ^ . 

39. If the enemy's troops march up angrily and remain 
facing ours for a long time without either joining battle 
or taking themselves off again, the situation is one that 
demands great vigilance and circumspection. 

Capt. Calthrop falls into a trap which often lurks in the word ^ . 
He translates: "When both sides, eager for a fight, face each other for a 
considerable time, neither advancing nor retiring," etc. Had he reflected 
a little, he would have seen that this is meaningless as addressed to a 
commander who has control over the movements of his own troops. 
;j|J |jj , then, does not mean that the two armies go to meet each other, 
but simply that the other side comes up to us. Likewise with ;jig ^ . 
If this were not perfectly clear of itself, Mei Yao-ch'en 's paraphrase would 
make it so : ^g jfjj ^Jj ^ ^ , etc. As Ts'ao Kung points out, a 
manoeuvre of this sort may be only a ruse to gain time for an unexpected 
flank attack or the laying of an ambush. 

40. If our troops are no more in number than the 
enemy, that is amply sufficient; 

Wang Hsi's paraphrase, partly borrowed from Ts'ao Kung, is jg| ~f\ 

k 1_* ^ t*^ S J 

Jg JjL ^ . Another reading, adopted by Chia Lin and the T*u S/iu, 

is Ji ^ji j||- ^jHj? ^ , which Capt. Calthrop renders, much too loosely : 
"Numbers are no certain mark of strength." 

it only means that no direct attack can be made. 

Literally, "no martial advance." That is to say, j "chtng" tactics 
and frontal attacks must be eschewed, and stratagem resorted to instead. 
What we can do is simply to concentrate all our available 
strength, keep a close watch on the enemy, and obtain 


# H ^ A 
42. $ 3t % pt iffi 18 2 MiJ 7 JR ^ 

B Ifllt A fi 7 f? 'M 7 W M A 

This is an obscure sentence, and none of the commentators succeed in 
squeezing very good sense out of it. The difficulty lies chiefly in the 
words Jffi Jl , which have been taken in every possible way. I follow 
Li Ch'iian, who appears to offer the simplest explanation: ^ ^ ^ 

^t" %& ifc "Only the side that gets more men will win." Ts'ao Kung's 
note, concise as usual to the verge of incomprehensibility, is |^ :j| 

jFjL 4-ft . Fortunately we have Chang Yii to expound its meaning to us 
in language which is lucidity itself: 

1IV&&& B "When the numbers 

are even, and no favourable opening presents itself, although we may not 
be strong enough to deliver a sustained attack, we can find additional 
recruits amongst our sutlers and camp-followers, and then, concentrating 
our forces and keeping a close watch on the enemy, contrive to snatch 
the victory. But we must avoid borrowing foreign soldiers to help us." 
He then quotes from Wei Liao Tzti, ch. 3: g^^^g^|J-]-^S 
Jf -7* i S& j-jj ^Ef "The nominal strength of mercenary troops may 
be 100,000, but their real value will be not more than half that figure." 
According to this interpretation, Jjj( J^ means "to get recruits," not 
from outside, but from the tag-rag and bobtail which follows in the wake 
of a large army. This does not sound a very soldierly suggestion, and I 
feel convinced that it is not what Sun Tzu meant. Chia Lin, on the other 
hand, takes the words in a different sense altogether, namely "to conquer 
the enemy" [cf. I. 20]. But in that case they could hardly be followed 
by jj]j Qi Better than this would be the rendering "to make isolated 
captures," as opposed to ;g $ "a general attack." 

41. He who exercises no forethought but makes light 
of his opponents is sure to be captured by them. 

The force of -^ is not easy to appreciate. Ch'en Hao says ^t 

' thus 

continues, quoting from the Tso Chuan: jj^ Jj /^ ^ ^jj ^ HU ^ 

fW /l^ II& ^(P -7 "W ^^ "^ bees and scor pi ns carry poison, how 
much more will a hostile state I [ f|t ^ , XXII. 3.] Even a puny opponent, 
then, should not be treated with contempt." 

42. If soldiers are punished before they have grown 


9 8 

*e & ii # w 

R * 4 * * ff 

* JR 

attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, 
unless submissive, they will be practically useless. If, when 
the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments 
are not enforced, they will still be useless. 

This is wrongly translated by Capt. Calthrop: e lf the troops know the 
general, but are not affected by his punishments, they are useless." 

43. Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first in- 
stance with humanity, but kept under control by means 
of iron discipline. 

jj^ and jj , according to Ts'ao Kung, are here equivalent to ^ and 
fg" respectively. Compare our two uses of the word "civil." ^P* ]p 
Yen Tzu [f B. C. 493] said of ^| || f J| ^ Ssu-ma Jang-chii : ^ gg 
IW ^ fl(J H! M j|)C ifc " His civil virt ues endeared him to the people; 
his martial prowess kept his enemies in awe." Cf. Wu Tzu, ch. 4 init.\ 


"The ideal commander unites culture with a warlike temper; the profes- 
sion of arms requires a combination of hardness and tenderness." Again 
I must find fault with Capt. Calthrop's translation : "By humane treatment 
we obtain obedience; authority brings uniformity." 

This is a certain road to victory. 

44. If in training soldiers commands are habitually en- 
forced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline 
will be bad. 

The Tung Tien and Yii Lan read: ^^^Tji^^^A^ 

m ^ * ff w A 4 * 7 n.ty A x ^ 

45- If a general shows confidence in his men but always 
insists on his orders being obeyed, 

The original text has ^ ^ ft ^ . ^ ^ is certainly awkward 
without fa, but on the other hand it is clear that Tu Mu accepted the 
Tung Tien text, which is identical with ours. He says : "A general ought 


in time of peace to show kindly confidence in his men and also make 
his authority respected, so that when they come to face the enemy, orders 
may be executed and discipline maintained, because they all trust and 
look up to him." What Sun Tzu has said in 44, however, would lead 
one rather to expect something like this : "If a general is always confident 
that his orders will be carried out," etc. Hence I am tempted to think 
that he may have written ^ ^ j=| Jf=f = . But this is perhaps too 

the gain will be mutual. 

Chang Yu says: B $ 15 & K* 1g J$ ft T 

;jg ^ -jj^ "The general has confidence in the men under his command, 
and the men are docile, having confidence in him. Thus the gain is 
mutual." He quotes a pregnant sentence from Wei Liao Tzu, ch. 4: 

4 Z Z & * M $& ~$i >Mi; M 4 " The art of g ivi "g 

orders is not to try to rectify minor blunders and not to be swayed by 
petty doubts." Vacillation and fussiness are the surest means of sapping 
the confidence of an army. Capt. Calthrop winds up the chapter with a 
final mistranslation of a more than usually heinous description: "Orders 
are always obeyed, if general and soldiers are in sympathy." Besides 
inventing the latter half of the sentence, he has managed to invert pro- 
tasis and apodosis. 



Only about a third of the chapter, comprising i 13, deals with 
^ J|5 , the subject being more fully treated in ch. XI. The "six cala- 
mities" are discussed in 14 20, and the rest of the chapter is again 
a mere string of desultory remarks, though not less interesting, perhaps, 
on that account. 

i. Sun Tzu said: We may distinguish six kinds of ter- 
rain, to wit: (i) Accessible ground; 

Mei Yao-ch'en says: ^H* $fa ^ U "plentifully provided with roads 
and means of communication." 

(2) entangling ground; 

The same commentator says: $pj |g ^ ^ Q jfa jjfr $$ "Net-like 
country, venturing into which you become entangled." 

(3) temporising ground; 

Tu Yu explains ^JT as -^ . This meaning is still retained in modern 
phrases such as j|r ^, ^ ^ "stave off," "delay." I do not know 

why Capt. Calthrop calls ^JT Jjjj "suspended ground," unless he is con- 
fusing it with ^ ^ . 

(4) narrow passes; ($} precipitous heights; 
The root idea in |$g is narrowness; in |Jjpt, steepness. 

(6) positions at a great distance from the enemy. 

It is hardly necessary to point out the faultiness of this classification. 
A strange lack of logical perception is shown in the Chinaman's unques- 
tioning acceptance of glaring cross-divisions such as the above. 


3. m y 

2. Ground which can be freely traversed by both sides 
is called accessible. 

Generally speaking, 2p ||j| "level country" is meant. Cf. IX. 9: 

3. With regard to ground of this nature, 

The Tung Tien reads Jg *j J^ . 
be before the enemy in occupying the raised and sunny spots, 

See IX. 2. The Tung Tien reads 
and carefully guard your line of supplies. 

A curious use of 7Jc|J as a verb, if our text is right. The general 
meaning is doubtless, as Tu Yu says, fit > ffi& H jjjjb ^ ^H ^tf' " not 
to allow the enemy to cut your communications." Tu Mu, who was not 
a soldier and can hardly have had any practical experience of fighting, 
goes more into detail and speaks of protecting the line of communications 
by a wall ( trjg| ), or enclosing it by embankments on each side ( jfc ^ 
))! In view of Napoleon's dictum, "the secret of war lies in the com- 
munications," * we could wish that Sun Tzti had done more than skirt the 
edge of this important subject here and in I. 10, VII. u. Col. Hen- 
derson says : "The line of supply may be said to be as vital to the existence 
of an army as the heart to the life of a human being. Just as the duel- 
list who finds his adversary's point menacing him with certain death, and 
his own guard astray, is compelled to conform to his adversary's move- 
ments, and to content himself with warding off his thrusts, so the com- 
mander whose communications are suddenly threatened finds himself in a 
false position, and he will be fortunate if he has not to change all his 
plans, to split up his force into more or less isolated detachments, and 
to fight with inferior numbers on ground which he has not had time to 
prepare, and where defeat will not be an ordinary failure, but will entail 
the ruin or the surrender of his whole army." ** 

Then you will be able to fight with advantage. 

Omitted by Capt. Calthrop. 

* See K Pens<es de Napoleon !," no. 47. 
** "The Science of War," chap. 2. 



ttj ffn 

4. Ground which can be abandoned but is hard to 
re-occupy is called entangling. 

Capt. Calthrop is wrong in translating :j|< "retreat from it." 

5. From a position of this sort, if the enemy is unprepared, 
you may sally forth and defeat him. But if the enemy 
is prepared for your coming, and you fail to defeat him, 
then, return being impossible, disaster will ensue. 

^f\ 7J?|J (an example of litotes) is paraphrased by Mei Yao-ch'en as 
jj\ ^ ^j|J "you will receive a check." 

6. When the position is such that neither side will gain 
by making the first move, it is called temporising ground. 

'S^ -^ IP! ^l ffi 'Hf "tit "Each side finds it inconvenient to move, 
and the situation remains at a deadlock" (Tu Yu). 

7. In a position of this sort, even though the enemy 
should offer us an attractive bait, 

Tu Yu says ^=j ^T* ^^ -^ "turning their backs on us and pretending 
to flee." But this is only one of the lures which might induce us to 
quit our position. Here again ^pl] is used as a verb, but this time in a 
different sense: "to hold out an advantage to." 

it will be advisable not to stir forth, but rather to retreat, 
thus enticing the enemy in his turn; then, when part of 
his army has come out, we may deliver our attack with 

Mei Yao-ch'en paraphrases the passage in a curious jingle, the scheme 
of rhymes being aMdd: %. % ffi $fe ^ ft ft fa % ^ f |J fflj 

io 3 

8. With regard to narrow passes, if you can occupy 
them first, 

Capt. Calthrop says: "Defiles, make haste to occupy." But this is a 
conditional clause, answering to ^^ j^ -^Q ^ ~ in the next paragraph. 

let them be strongly garrisoned and await the advent of 
the enemy. 

Because then, as Tu Yu observes, f ft\\ 

$HJ iilfc "^ ie initiative Wl ^ ^ e w ith lls > an d by making sudden and unex- 
pected attacks we shall have the enemy at our mercy." The commen- 
tators make a great pother about the precise meaning of ^9, which to 
the foreign reader seems to present no difficulty whatever. 

9. Should the enemy forestall you in occupying a pass, 
do not go after him if the pass is fully garrisoned, but 
only if it is weakly garrisoned. 

10. With regard to precipitous heights, if you are be- 
forehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised 
and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up. 

Ts'ao Kung says: ^J ^ |^ H ^ ^ Pf ^ ^ A " The P ar ~ 
ticular advantage of securing heights and defiles is that your actions can- 
not then be dictated by the enemy." [For the enunciation of the grand 
principle alluded to, see VI. 2]. Chang Yu tells the following anec- 
dote of ^ ^j |jtt]r P'ei Hsing-chien (A.D. 619 682), who was sent on 
a punitive expedition against the Turkic tribes. "At nightfall he pitched 
his camp as usual, and it had already been completely fortified by wall 
and ditch, when suddenly he gave orders that the army should shift its 
quarters to a hill near by. This was highly displeasing to his officers, 
who protested loudly against the extra fatigue which it would entail on 
the men. P'ei Hsing-chien, however, paid no heed to their remonstrances 
and had the camp moved as quickly as possible. The same night, a 
terrific storm came on, which flooded their former place of encampment 
to the depth of over twelve feet. The recalcitrant officers were amazed 
at the sight, and owned that they had been in the wrong. 'How did 
you know what was going to happen?' they asked. P'ei Hsing-chien 
replied: 'From this time forward be content to obey orders without asking 


13. jiiftA 

unnecessary questions.' [See Cte T^aw^ S>4, ch. 84, fol. 12 r., and 
-fltt :T'0/*- 67^ ch. 1 08, fol. 5 v.} From this it may be seen," Chang 
Yii continues, "that high and sunny places are advantageous not only 
for fighting, but also because they are immune from disastrous floods." 

11. If the enemy has occupied them before you, do 
not follow him, but retreat and try to entice him away. 

The turning-point of ^* |f Li Shih-min's campaign in 621 A.D. 
against the two rebels, Ijjf ||| |j|i Tou Chien-te, King of W Hsia, and 
lE Ht ^j Wang Shih-ch'ung, Prince of J||J Cheng, was his seizure o 
the heights of jj 3p Wu-lao, in spite of which Tou Chien-te persisted 
in his attempt to relieve his ally in Lo-yang, was defeated and taken 
prisoner. [See Chiu Tang Shu, ch. 2, fol. 5 z>., and also ch. 54.] 

12. If you are situated at a great distance from the 
enemy, and the strength of the two armies is equal, 

The Tung Tien reads 
it is not easy to provoke a battle, 

Ts'ao Kung says that ^ Ifffe means $[ jj| "challenging the enemy." 
But the enemy being far away, that plainly involves, as Tu Yu says, 

$$, Hfc "&i n g to meet him." The point of course is, that we must not 
think of undertaking a long and wearisome march, at the end of which 

xfe $5 fci I IPt " we s hould. be exhausted and our adversary fresh 
and keen." 

and righting will be to your disadvantage. 

13. These six are the principles connected with Earth. 
Or perhaps, "the principles relating to ground." See, however, I. 8. 

The general who has attained a responsible post must 
be careful to study them. 

Capt. Calthrop omits Eg <g . Out of the foregoing six ^|j} ^ , it 
will be noticed that nos. 3 and 6 have really no reference to the config- 
uration of the country, and that only 4 and 5 can be said to convey 
any definite geographical idea. 


15. ^c^J^JlJJl I* + 

14. Now an army is exposed to six several calamities, 
not arising from natural causes, 

The T*u Shu reads 

but from faults for which the general is responsible. These 
are: (i) Flight; (2) insubordination; (3) collapse; (4) ruin; 
(5) disorganisation; (6) rout. 

I take exception to Capt. Calthrop's rendering of |Sjg and jjfo as 

"distress" and "disorganisation," respectively. 

15. Other conditions being equal, if one force is hurled 
against another ten times its size, the result will be the 
flight of the former. 

Cf. III. 10. The general's fault here is that of ^ ^ J] "not 
calculating the enemy's strength." It is obvious that life cannot have 
the same force as in 12, where it was equivalent to Ji ^J . I should 

not be inclined, however, to limit it, with Chang Yu, to t|^ ^ ^ Jj| 
-& ~ ^|J 3p "the wisdom and valour of the general and the sharpness 
of the weapons." As Li Ch'iian very justly remarks, -^ ^ ^ >gj 

2. *tfe ffl ^ ft Z It R'J "ST ^ " Given a decided advantage in 
position, or the help of some stratagem such as a flank attack or an am- 
buscade, it would be quite possible [to fight in the ratio of one to ten]." 

1 6. When the common soldiers are too strong and their 
officers too weak, the result is insubordination. 

iffll "laxity" the metaphor being taken from an unstrung bow. Capt. 
Calthrop's "relaxation" is not good, on account of its ambiguity. Tu Mu 
cites the unhappy case of J|J ^ffj T'ien Pu \Hsin T'ang Shu, ch. 148], 
who was sent to ^| Wei in 821 A.D. with orders to lead an army against 
I /Ji ip; Wang T'ing-ts'ou. But the whole time he was in command, 
his soldiers treated him with the utmost contempt, and openly flouted 
his authority by riding about the camp on donkeys, several thousands at 
a time. T'ien Pu was powerless to put a stop to this conduct, and when, 


n. H5 

after some months had passed, he made an attempt to engage the enemy, 
his troops turned tail and dispersed in every direction. After that, the 
unfortunate man committed suicide by cutting his throat. 

When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers 
too weak, the result is collapse. 

Ts'ao Kung says: g* f}% ^ *g T || $Bl Pi " The officers are 
energetic and want to press on, the common soldiers are feeble and sud- 
denly collapse." Note that j$j is to be taken literalb of physical weak- 
ness, whereas in the former clause it is figurative. Li Ch'iian makes [^ 
equivalent to j , and Tu Mu explains it as |lg ^ ^ Tft ^jj "stumb- 
ling into a death-trap." 

17. When the higher officers 

~fc |tl ' acc ording to Ts'ao Kung, are the >J> jj^ "generals of in- 
ferior rank." But Li Ch'iian, Ch'en Hao and Wang Hsi take the term 
as simply convertible with j|^ or -^ 4^. 

are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy 
give battle on their own account from a feeling of resent- 
ment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or 
no he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin. 

Ts'ao Kung makes -fc i^, understood, the subject of ^R , which 
seems rather far-fetched. Wang Hsi's note is: 

"This means, the general is angry without just cause, and at the same 
time does not appreciate the ability of his subordinate officers; thus he 
arouses fierce resentment and brings an avalanche of ruin upon his head." 
He takes |^ , therefore, in the sense of ^ but I think that Ch'en Hao 

is right in his paraphrase ^ jjjj| j||;! ^ "they don't care if it be pos- 
sible or no." My interpretation of the whole passage is that of Mei Yao- 
ch'en and Chang Yu. Tu Mu gives a long extract from the Tso Chuan, 
Hf <$, XII. 3, showing how the great battle of j{\|$ Pi [597 B.C.] was 
lost for the ^ Chin State through the contumacy of -^Q |^ Hsien Hu 
and the resentful spite of |J| |^- Wei I and ^g ^ Chao Chan. Chang 

Yu also alludes to the mutinous conduct of |f| B Luan Yen [ibid. 

1 8. When the general is weak and without authority; 
when his orders are not clear and distinct; 

Wei Liao Tzu (ch. 4) says: ^^4,|lJ^^Zl|i, 
jfjf fiffi H ^ ^ H(J ^ Jfi 31 ^ "If the commander gives his orders 
with decision, the soldiers will not wait to hear them twice ; if his moves 
are made without vacillation, the soldiers will not be in two minds about 
doing their duty." General Baden-Powell says, italicising the words: 
"The secret of getting successful work out of your trained men lies in 
one nutshell in the clearness of the instructions they receive." * As- 
suming that clear instructions beget confidence, this is very much what 
Wei Liao Tztt (loc. cit.) goes on to say: ^ ^ ^ >g 3t J$ jjft g| 

#*;&*& Cf. alsoWuTzuch. 3 : ffl J W * 
H ~k ^ < fii ty M "the most fatal defect in a mili- 

"i^ _/ > r ^^*f sf > 1_ V ~\ w /y* 

tary leader is diffidence; the worst calamities that befall an army arise 
from hesitation." 

when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, 

|J* ^X ^ ^ ~ffij ^ ^ "Neither officers nor men have any regular 
routine" [Tu Mu]. 

and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, 
the result is utter disorganisation. 

19. When a general, unable to estimate the enemy's 
strength, allows an inferior force to engage a larger one, 
or hurls a weak detachment against a powerful one, and 
neglects to place picked soldiers in the front rank, the 
result must be a rout. 

Chang Yii paraphrases the latter part of the sentence ^ j|3| ||j| Jj| 

H! H 3t & & & & * til > and c ntinu <*: Jl Sfc $ 
ffl ft to H ^ - RIJ }|t ^- ^ - RIJ ^ ^ -& 

"Whenever there is fighting to be done, the keenest spirits should be 
* "Aids to Scouting," p. xii. 



appointed to serve in the front ranks, both in order to strengthen the 
resolution of our own men and to demoralise the enemy." Cf. the primi 
ordines of Caesar ("De Bello Gallico," V. 28, 44 et a/.). There seems 
little to distinguish ^ from j^jr in 15, except that ^ is a more 
forcible word. 

20. These are six ways of courting defeat, 

Ch'en Hao makes them out to be: (i) 'jfc -fa jjf J&J "neglect to 

/ I -T^. >5^- >T> 

estimate the enemy's strength;" (2) 2J ^ JflJ ^ "want of authority;" 
(3) J* gfl| |& "defective training;" (4) # 3g jft & "unjustifiable 
anger;" (5) |i ^v ^ ^ "non-observance of discipline ;" (6) ^ ^ 
HH J|| "failure to use picked men." 

which must be carefully noted by the general who has 
attained a responsible post. 
See supra, 13. 

21. The natural formation of the country is the soldier's 
best ally; 

Chia Lin's text has the reading ^ for JJjff . Ch'en Hao says: ^ ^ 
>P $fj i^ ^c|J "The advantages of weather and season are not equal to 
those connected with ground." 

but a power of estimating the adversary, 

The insertion of a "but" is necessary to show the connection of thought 
here. A general should always utilise, but never rely wholly on natural 
advantages of terrain. 

of controlling the forces of victory, 

wl )$af ^ s one f those condensed expressions which mean so much in 
Chinese, and so little in an English translation. What it seems to imply 
is complete mastery of the situation from the beginning. 

and of shrewdly calculating difficulties, dangers and distances, 
The Tung Tien and Yu Lan read ff @ fa %\] <g ^ fe . 

I am decidedly puzzled by Capt. Calthrop's translation : "an eye for steep- 
ness, command and distances." Where did he find the word which I have 
put in italics? 


22. # it m ffl a ^ $ * # lit 


constitutes the test of a great general. 

A somewhat free translation of ^ . As Chang Yu remarks, these are 
^ $ " the essentials of soldiering," ground being only a helpful 

22. He who knows these things, and in fighting puts 
his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He 
who knows them not, nor practises them, will surely be 

23. If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you 
must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting 
will not result in victory, then you must not fight even 
at the ruler's bidding. 

Cf. VIII. 3 fin. Huang Shih-kung of the Ch'in dynasty, who is said 
to have been the patron of EM ^ Chang Liang and to have written the 
^ |5, has these words attributed to him: |jj jj? ^j gj| 

JJUJ "The responsibility of setting an army in motion must devolve on 
the general alone ; if advance and retreat are controlled from the Palace, 
brilliant results will hardly be achieved. Hence the god-like ruler and 
the enlightened monarch are content to play a humble part in furthering 
their country's cause [///., kneel down to push the chariot wheel]." This 

means that |gj #\* ^ $ j|F gjj ^ "in matters lying outside the 
zenana, the decision of the military commander must be absolute." Chang 
Yu also quotes the saying: ^^^P^^'T'^sS "Decrees of 
the Son of Heaven do not penetrate the walls of a camp." Napoleon, 
who has been accused of allowing his generals too little independence 
of action, speaks in the same sense: "Un general en chef n'est pas a 
convert de ses fautes a la guerre par un ordre de son souverain ou du 
ministre, quand celui qui le donne est eloigne du champ d'operation, et 
qu'il connait mal, ou ne connait pas du tout le dernier etat des choses." * 

* "Maximes de Guerre," no. 72. 

I 10 

24. J 

24. The general who advances without coveting fame 
and retreats without fearing disgrace, 

It was Wellington, I think, who said that the hardest thing of all for 
a soldier is to retreat. 

whose only thought is to protect his country and do good 
service for his sovereign, 

^, which is omitted by the Tu Shu, is said by Ch'en Hao to be 
equivalent to ^ . If it had to be separately translated, it would be 
something like our word "accrue." 

is the jewel of the kingdom. 

A noble presentment, in few words, of the Chinese "happy warrior." 
Such a man, says Ho Shih, fj= ~fc S -Iff ^ $| ^ "even if he 
had to suffer punishment, would not regret his conduct." 

25. Regard your soldiers as your children, and they 
will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as 
your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even 
unto death. 

Cf. I. 6. In this connection, Tu Mu draws for us an engaging pic- 
ture of the famous general Wu Ch'i, from whose treatise on war I have 
frequently had occasion to quote: "He wore the same clothes and ate 
the same food as the meanest of his soldiers, refused to have either a 
horse to ride or a mat to sleep on, carried his own surplus rations 
wrapped in a parcel, and shared every hardship with his men. One of his 
soldiers was suffering from an abscess, and Wu Ch'i himself sucked out 
the virus. The soldier's mother, hearing this, began wailing and lamenting. 
Somebody asked her, saying: 'Why do you cry? Your son is only a com- 
mon soldier, and yet the commander-in-chief himself has sucked the poison 
from his sore.' The woman replied : 'Many years ago, Lord Wu performed a 
similar service for my husband, who never left him afterwards, and finally 
met his death at the hands of the enemy. And now that he has done the 
same for my son, he too will fall fighting I know not where'." Li Ch'iian 
mentions ^ -^ the Viscount of Ch'u, who invaded the small state of ||| 
Hsiao during the winter. ^ ^ The Duke of Shen said to him : "Many of 

1 1 1 

1 . j? BO ^ HI $ s ffi 7 si 4 ii ro 


the soldiers are suffering severely from the cold." So he made a round 
of the whole army, comforting and encouraging the men; and straight- 
way they felt as if they were clothed in garments lined with floss silk. 
\Tso CJntan, j| ^. , XII. 5]. Chang Yii alludes to the same passage, 

26. If, however, you are indulgent, but unable to make 
your authority felt; kind-hearted, but unable to enforce 
your commands ; and incapable, moreover, of quelling 
disorder : 

Capt. Calthrop has got these three clauses quite wrong. The last he 
translates: "overindulgence may produce disorder." 

then your soldiers must be likened to spoilt children; they 
are useless for any practical purpose. 

Cf. IX. 42. We read in the \&- ffi $g , pt. 2 : =j| ^ =f ^ 

"Injury comes out of kindness." Li Ching once said that if you could 
make your soldiers afraid of you, they would not be afraid of the enemy. 
Tu Mu recalls an instance of stern military discipline which occurred in 
219 A.D., when Q ^^ Lii Meng was occupying the town of yT [|fe 
Chiang-ling. He had given stringent orders to his army not to molest 
the inhabitants nor take anything from them by force. Nevertheless, a 
certain officer serving under his banner, who happened to be a fellow- 
townsman, ventured to appropriate a bamboo hat ( ^ ) belonging to one 
of the people, in order to wear it over his regulation helmet as a pro- 
tection against the rain. Lii Meng considered that the fact of his being 
also a native of VrT tvj Tu-nan should not be allowed to palliate a clear 

Y?* rrJ J 

breach of discipline, and accordingly he ordered his summary execution, 
the tears rolling down his face, however, as he did so. This act of 
severity filled the army with wholesome awe, and from that time forth 
even articles dropped in the highway were not picked up. \SanKuo Chih, 
ch. 54, f. i 3 r.&*.]. 

27. If we know that our own men are in a condition 
to attack, but are unaware that the enemy is not open to 
attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory. 

That is, as Ts'ao Kung says, "the issue in this case is uncertain." 

I 12 


2 * ^ ifc ^ -tit 


28. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, but 
are unaware that our own men are not in a condition to 
attack, we have gone only halfway towards victory. 

Cf. III. 13 (i). 

29. If we know that the enemy is open to attack, and 
also know that our men are in a condition to attack, but 
are unaware that the nature of the ground makes fighting 
impracticable, we have still gone only halfway towards 

I may take this opportunity of pointing out the rather nice distinction 
in meaning between jpj? and Jpjr. The latter is simply "to attack" 
without any further implication, whereas tjpc is a stronger word which in 
nine cases out of ten means "to attack with expectation of victory," "to 
fall upon," as we should say, or even "to crush." On the other hand, 
jpc is not quite synonymous with >0, which is mostly used of operations 
on a larger scale, as of one State making war on another, often with the 
added idea of invasion. ^j , finally, has special reference to the subjugation 
of rebels. See Mencius, VII. 2. ii. 2. 

30. Hence the experienced soldier, once in motion, is 
never bewildered; once he has broken camp, he is never 
at a loss. 

The reason being, according to Tu Mu, that he has taken his measures 
so thoroughly as to ensure victory beforehand. "He does not move 
recklessly," says Chang Yu, "so that when he does move, he makes no 
mistakes." Another reading substitutes [g for $$ and jp| for ^| . 
The latter variant only is adopted by the T'ung Tien and Yu Lan. Note 
that jjj| here means "at the end of his mental resources." 

3 1 . Hence the saying : If you know the enemy and know 
yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; 

Capt. Calthrop makes the saying end here, which cannot be justified, 
if you know Heaven and know Earth, 

^ and jfy are transposed for the sake of the jingle between ^ 

and ^ . The original text, however, has ^W ^C ^W ijfe > an d tne cor- 
rection has been made from the T'ung Tien. 

you may make your victory complete. 

As opposed to |j^ ^"> above. The original text has B^L 7JT 

^f\ |p| , the corruption being perhaps due to the occurrence of jf\ *JK* in 
the preceding sentence. Here, however ~jf\ j|S| would not be synonymous 

with jf\ ^ , but equivalent to ^f\ ^ ]Q *jjj* "inexhaustible," "beyond 
computation." Cf. V. n. The T'ung Tien has again supplied the true 
reading. Li Ch'uan sums up as follows: ^ ^ ^ ^jp jfy ^}J ^ 

^ 1^ 9$ K'J W ifc W ^ " Given a knowled g e of three things - 
the affairs of man, the seasons of heaven and the natural advantages of 
earth , victory will invariably crown your battles." 



Li Ch'iian is not quite right in calling these ^ j|^ ^ % As we 
shall see, some of them are highly disadvantageous from the military 
point of view. Wang Hsi more correctly says : ^ J ~ jfy ^|J ^ 
^ ^L ifc "There are nine military situations, good and bad." One 
would like to distinguish the -j\^ ij|j from the six ^ ^ of chap. X by 
saying that the latter refer to the natural formation or geographical features 
of the country, while the ^ Jjjj have more to do with the condition of 
the army, being jfy ^i "situations" as opposed to "grounds." But it is 
soon found impossible to carry out the distinction. Both are cross-divisions, 
for among the J{|j -^ we have "temporising ground" side by side with 
"narrow passes," while in the present chapter there is even greater confusion. 

i . Sun Tzii said : The art of war recognises nine varieties 
of ground: (i) Dispersive ground; (2) facile ground; (3) 
contentious ground; (4) open ground; (5) ground of inter- 
secting highways; (6) serious ground; (7) difficult ground; 
(8) hemmed-in ground; (9) desperate ground. 

2. When a chieftain is righting in his own territory, it 
is dispersive ground. 

So called because the soldiers, being near to their homes and anxious 
to see their wives and children, are likely to seize the opportunity afforded 
by a battle and scatter in every direction. "In their advance," observes 
Tu Mu, "they will lack the valour of desperation, and when they retreat, 
they will find harbours of refuge." The ^ , which appears in the T'u 
Shu, seems to have been accidentally omitted in my edition of the 
standard text. 



3. When he has penetrated into hostile territory, but 
no great distance, it is facile ground. 

Li Ch'iian and Ho Shih say |g J ^ ^ "because of the facility 
for retreating," and the other commentators give similar explanations. 

Tu Mu remarks: 115^^^^^^-^^^^^ 

^ )Q "When your army has crossed the border, you should burn your 
boats and bridges, in order to make it clear to everybody that you have 
no hankering after home." I do not think that "disturbing ground," 
Capt. Calthrop's rendering of j|(fr ijjj, has anything to justify it. If an 
idiomatic translation is out of the question, one should at least attempt 
to be literal. 

4. Ground the possession of which imports great ad- 
vantage to either side, is contentious ground. 

I must apologise for using this word in a sense not known to the dic- 
tionary, i.e. "to be contended for" Tu Mu's Jj\ tjf- Jjjjj . Ts'ao 
Kung says : "Pfj^l^^^^^^S "g rouncl on which the few 
and the weak can defeat the many and the strong," such as [^ Pj^ 
"the neck of a pass," instanced by Li Ch'iian. Thus, Thermopylae was 
a ^j jfy , because the- possession of it, even for a few days only, meant 
holding the entire invading army in check and thus gaining invaluable 
time. Cf. Wu -Tztt, ch. V. ad init.i $ !jc -f^ J| || ;j$ $& 
"For those who have to fight in the ratio of one to ten, there is nothing 
better than a narrow pass." When {zj -^ Lii Kuang was returning 
from his triumphant expedition to Turkestan in 385 A.D., and had got 
as far as *SJf -^ I-ho, laden with spoils, J|^ WEt Liang Hsi, administrator of 
VJrf >UJ Liang-chou, taking advantage of the death of Fu Chien, King of 
Ch'in, plotted against him and was for barring his way into the province. 
^1 j^ Yang Han, governor of ^|j M Kao-ch'ang, counselled him, 
saying: "Lii Kuang is fresh from his victories in the west, and his soldiers 
are vigorous and mettlesome. If we oppose him in the shifting sands of 
the desert, we shall be no match for him, and we must therefore try a 
different plan. Let us hasten to occupy the defile at the mouth of the 
"JEJJJ Oj^ Kao-wu pass, thus cutting him off from supplies of water, and 
when his troops are prostrated with thirst, we can dictate our own terms 
without moving. Or if you think that the pass I mention is too far off, 
we could make a stand against him at the ^ I-wu pass, which is 


nearer. The cunning and resource of -^ j^ Tzu-fang himself [i.e. jj| 
would be expended in vain against the enormous strength of these two 
positions." Liang Hsi, refusing to act on this advice, was overwhelmed 
and swept away by the invader. [See ^jj- |J , ch. 122, fol. 3 r, and 
> ch -43, fol. 26.] 

5. Ground on which each side has liberty of movement 
is open ground. 

This is only a makeshift translation of ^|F , which according to Ts ao 
Kung stands for ^ &j& "ground covered with a network of roads," like 
a chess-board. Another interpretation, suggested by Ho Shih,'is ^ a| 
"ground on which intercommunication is easy." In either case, it must 
evidently be ^p J|f "flat country," and therefore ^ "Sf ^4 ^6 " can ~ 
not be blocked." Cf. j| ^ , X. 2. 

6. Ground which forms the key to three contiguous states, 

rrfnfi&IHi " Our 

the enemy's and a third country conterminous with both." [Ts'ao Kung.] 
Meng Shih instances the small principality of J||$ Cheng, which was 
bounded on the north-east by ^ Ch'i, on the west by ^ Chin, and on 
the south by ^ Ch'u. 

so that he who occupies it first has most of the Empire 
at his command, 

^ ~J\ of course stands for the loose confederacy of states into which 
China was divided under the Chou dynasty. The belligerent who holds 
this dominating position can constrain most of them to become his allies. 
See infra, 48. ^ appears at first sight to be "the masses" or "population" 
of the Empire, but it is more probably, as Tu Yu says, ^| & *& . 

is ground of intersecting highways. 

Capt. Calthrop's "path-ridden ground" might stand well enough for 
2 ijjj above, but it does not bring out the force of ^ J|jj , which 
clearly denotes the central position where important highways meet. 

7. A A 

B tft ttttrtt&VJt 


10. iW! 

7. When an army has penetrated into the heart of a 
hostile country, leaving a number of fortified cities in 
its rear, 

After ^ , the T l ung Tien intercalates the gloss J|j| J^ jg . 
it is serious ground. 

Wang Hsi explains the name by saying that -fi rJj? jf ^ l|j. ^ 

2 ifc "when an army has reached such a point, its situation is serious." 
Li Ch'iian instances (i) the victorious march of |$| ^^ Yo I into the 
capital of Ch'i in 284 B.C., and (2) the attack on Ch'u, six years later, 
by the Ch'in general Q jfg Po Ch'i. 

8. Mountain forests, 

Or simply, "forests." I follow the T l u Shu in omitting the Jfj before 
||[ ^ , given in the standard text, which is not only otiose but spoils 
the rhythm of the sentence. 

rugged steeps, marshes and fens - all country that is 
hard to traverse : this is difficult ground. 

J^ p*i 3 (to be distinguished from J|J i 4 ) is defined by K'ang Hsi 
(after the Shuo Wtri] as ^f "to destroy." Hence Chia Lin explains 

tE Mb as g round $2 ^K )9f Wi " that has been ruined b y water P as ~ 

sing over it," and Tu Yu simply as ^ yJ0 ^ Jj^ "swampy ground." 
But Ch'en Hao says that the word is specially applied to deep hollows 
what Chu-ko Liang, he tells us, used to designate by the expressive term 
^tb ^ "earth-hells." Compare the ^ ^ of IX. 15. 

9. Ground which is reached through narrow gorges, 
and from which we can only retire by tortuous paths, so 
that a small number of the enemy would suffice to crush 
a large body of our men : this is hemmed-in ground. 

10. Ground on which we can only be saved from destruc- 
tion by fighting without delay, is desperate ground. 

11. ft & ic *fe IW a H *4 H'J ft It f Ufa IN ft 


The situation, as pictured by Ts'ao Kung, is very similar to the H|| ijjj , 
except that here escape is no longer possible: ^jjj ^ 1^1 Uj ^ ^ff 
^ 7K it RlJ ^ ^ Ji. HlJ ^ $E " A loft y mountain in front, a 
large river behind, advance impossible, retreat blocked." Ch'en Haosays: 
A^^E^^^'it^^'JiM " to be on 'desperate ground' 
is like sitting in a leaking boat or crouching in a burning house." Tu 
Mu quotes from Li Ching a vivid description of the plight of an army 
thus entrapped: "Suppose an army invading hostile territory without the 
aid of local guides: it falls into a fatal snare and is at the enemy's 
mercy. A ravine on the left, a mountain on the right, a pathway so 
perilous that the horses have to be roped together and the chariots car- 
ried in slings, no passage open in front, retreat cut off behind, no choice 
but to proceed in single file (fjj* ^J J3| jf' J^). Then, before 
there is time to range our soldiers in order of battle, the enemy in over- 
whelming strength suddenly appears on the scene. Advancing, we can 
nowhere take a breathing-space; retreating, we have no haven of refuge. 
We seek a pitched battle, but in vain; yet standing on the defen- 
sive, none of us has a moment's respite. If we simply maintain our 
ground, whole days and months will crawl by; the moment we make a 
move, we have to sustain the enemy's attacks on front and rear. The 
country is wild, destitute of water and plants; the army is lacking in the 
necessaries of life, the horses are jaded and the men worn-out, all the 
resources of strength and skill unavailing, the pass so narrow that a single 
man defending it can check the onset of ten thousand; all means of 
offence in the hands of the enemy, all points of vantage already forfeited 
by ourselves: in this terrible plight, even though we had the most 
valiant soldiers and the keenest of weapons, how could they be employed 
with the slightest effect?" Students of Greek history may be reminded 
of the awful close to the Sicilian expedition, and the agony of the Athenians 
under Nicias and Demosthenes. [See Thucydides, VII. 78 sqq.]. 

ii. On dispersive ground, therefore, fight not. On facile 
ground, halt not. On contentious ground, attack not. 

But rather let all your energies be bent on occupying the advantageous 
position first. So Ts'ao Kung. Li Ch'iian and others, however, suppose 
the meaning to be that the enemy has already forestalled us, so that it 
would be sheer madness to attack. In the ^ -^ ^ ^, when the 
King of Wu inquires what should be done in this case, Sun Tzu replies : 
"The rule with regard to contentious ground is that those in possession 
have the advantage over the other side. If a position of this kind is 


secured first by the enemy, beware of attacking him. Lure him away 
by pretending to flee - - show your banners and sound your drums 
make a dash for other places that he cannot afford to lose trail brush- 
wood and raise a dust confound his ears and eyes detach a body 
of your best troops, and place it secretly in ambuscade. Then your op- 
ponent will sally forth to the rescue." 

1 2. On open ground, do not try to block the enemy's way. 

Because the attempt would be futile, and would expose the blocking 
force itself to serious risks. There are two interpretations of ^SE ^ . 
1 follow that of Chang Yii ( jfi gj" \% J |Sj[ $& lit JjJg ). The other 

is indicated in Ts'ao Kung's brief note : ^g ^ J||| -jj^ "Draw closer 
together" i.e., see that a portion of your own army is not cut off. 
Wang Hsi points out that ^g ijjj is only another name for the 5^ jfy 
"accessible ground" of X. 2, and says that the advice here given is 
simply a variation of 5flJ ^H :jjj[ "keep a sharp eye on the line of sup- 
plies," be careful that your communications are not cut. The T'ung Tien 

On ground of intersecting highways, join hands with your 

Or perhaps, "form alliances with neighbouring states." Thus Ts'ao 
Kung has : ^ ^ ^ ifc Capt. Calthrop's "cultivate intercourse" is 
much too timid and vague. The original text reads ^ -^ . 

13. On serious ground, gather in plunder. 
On this, Li Ch'iian has the following delicious note : '^j 

^ S 11 ft A >tf & ft ^ 

an army penetrates far into the enemy's country, care must be taken not 
to alienate the people by unjust treatment. Follow the example of the 
Han Emperor Kao Tsu, whose march into Ch'in territory was marked 
by no violation of women or looting of valuables. \Nota bene: this was 
in 207 B.C., and may well cause us to blush for the Christian armies 
that entered Peking in 1900 A.D.] Thus he won the hearts of all. In 
the present passage, then, I think that the true reading must be, not 
;jjt 'plunder,' but ^&E ^ 'do not plunder'." Alas, I fear that in this 
instance the worthy commentator's feelings outran his judgment. Tu Mu, 


*ij m m % Mb w a 

at least, has no such illusions. He says: "When encamped on 'serious 
ground,' there being no inducement as yet to advance further, and no 
possibility of retreat, one ought to take measures for a protracted resis- 
tance by bringing in provisions from all sides, and keep a close watch 
on the enemy." Cf. also II. 9: |g| || $$ fjfc . 

In difficult ground, keep steadily on the march. 
Or, in the words of VIII. 2, fi| ^ "do not encamp." 

14. On hemmed-in ground, resort to stratagem. 

Ts'ao Kung says: ^jjjf : jjfr |]j| "Try the effect of some unusual artifice;" 
and Tu Yu amplifies this by saying: Jg jj g|J || |g g| |g ^f 

Jj[ ^ H|| "In such a position, some scheme must be devised which 
will suit the circumstances, and if we can succeed in deluding the enemy, 
the peril may be escaped." This is exactly what happened on the famous 
occasion when Hannibal was hemmed in among the mountains on. the 
road to Casilinum, and to all appearances entrapped by the Dictator 
Fabius. The stratagem which Hannibal devised to baffle his foes was 
remarkably like that which T'ien Tan had also employed with success 
exactly 62 years before. [See IX. 24, note.] When night came on, 
bundles of twigs were fastened to the horns of some 2000 oxen and set 
on fire, the terrified animals being then quickly driven along the mountain 
side towards the passes which were beset by the enemy. The strange 
spectacle of these rapidly moving lights so alarmed and discomfited the 
Romans that they withdrew from their position, and Hannibal's army 
passed safely through the defile. [See Polybius, III. 93, 94; Livy, XXII. 

16, 17.] 

On desperate ground, fight. 

For, as Chia Lin remarks: Jj egfe |jj /H ^4* |M |||| ^ "if you 

fight with all your might, there is a chance of life ; whereas death is cer- 
tain if you cling to your corner." 

15. Those who were called skilful leaders of old 
j^j- f H is omitted in the T'u Shu text. 

knew how to drive a wedge between the enemy's front 
and rear; 

More literally, "cause the front and rear to lose touch with each other." 


to prevent co-operation between his large and small divi- 
sions; to hinder the good troops from rescuing the bad, 

I doubt if ^ ^ can mean "officers and men," as Capt. Calthrop 
translates. This is wanted for J^ ~|\ . 

the officers from rallying their men. 

The reading ^^, derived from the Yu Lan, must be considered very 
doubtful. The original text has >^, and the T'u Shu )|. 

1 6. When the enemy's men were scattered, they prevented 
them from concentrating; 

Capt. Calthrop translates ffi fjffi> "they scattered the enemy," which 
cannot be right. 

even when their forces were united, they managed to keep 
them in disorder. 

Mei Yao-ch'en's note makes the sense plain : nt/ R Sft rSi ^f\ gte 

^^ i t rvF c HM * rtt-i 

& 1$. S^ ^ fln 7 H^ 5? ^^ these clauses, of course, down to 
^f\ ij|js are dependent on 'fi|l in 15. 

17. When it was to their advantage, they made a for- 
ward move; when otherwise, they stopped still. 

Mei Yao-ch'en connects this with the foregoing: ^ j||| -jj|j ^jj ^g 1 

tt W fl WM M IIIIE 5 RIJ Ih "Having succeeded in thus 
dislocating the enemy, they would push forward in order to secure any 
advantage to be gained; if there was no advantage to be gained, they 
would remain where they were." 

1 8. If asked how to cope with a great host of the 
enemy in orderly array and on the point of marching to 
the attack, 

j| ffl is like fjg PJj , introducing a supposed question. 

I should say: "Begin by seizing something which your op- 
ponent holds dear; then he will be amenable to your will." 


Opinions differ as to what Sun Tzti had in mind. Ts'ao Kung thinks 
it is jt Jt)r *Hp ^ 5f?lJ "some strategical advantage on which the enemy 
is depending." Tu Mu says: fl |$ f|j % 4 H B3 Sf f 'J^/Bir!fft^*.l " Thethree 

things which an enemy is anxious to do, and on the accomplishment of 
which his success depends, are: (i) to capture our favourable positions; 
(2) to ravage our cultivated land; (3) to guard his own communications." 
Our object then must be to thwart his plans in these three directions 
and thus render him helpless. [Cf. III. 3.] But this exegesis unduly 
strains the meaning of iS* and ffife , and 1 agree with Ch'en Hao, who 
says that ffi ^ does not refer only to strategical advantages, but is 
any person or thing that may happen to be of importance to the enemy. 
By boldly seizing the initiative in this way, you at once throw the other 
side on the defensive. 

19. Rapidity is the essence of war: 

means "the conditions of war," not, as Capt. Calthrop 
says, "the spirit of the troops." According to Tu Mu, [[ j^ ^ -f 
tpf ftJc "this is a summary of leading principles in warfare," and 

he adds: ft **'' til 1ft ft IS. $ $ "These are the 
profoundest truths of military science, and the chief business of the general." 
The following anecdotes, told by Ho Shih, show the importance attached 
to speed by two of China's greatest generals. In 227 A.D., ^ j|| 
Meng Ta, governor of ^jft tyfa Hsin-ch'eng under the Wei Emperor Wen 
Ti, was meditating defection to the House of Shu, and had entered into 
correspondence with Chu-ko Liang, Prime Minister of that State. The 
Wei general Ssti-ma I was then military governor of ^ Wan, and get- 
ting wind of Meng Ta's treachery, he at once set off with an army to 
anticipate his revolt, having previously cajoled him by a specious message 
of friendly import. Ssu-ma's officers came to him and said: "If Meng 
Ta has leagued himself with Wu and Shu, the matter should be thor- 
oughly investigated before we make a move." Ssti-ma I replied: "Meng 
Ta is an unprincipled man, and we ought to go and punish him at once, 
while he is still wavering and before he has thrown off the mask." Then, by 
a series of forced marches, he brought his army under the walls of Hsin- 
ch'eng within the space of eight days. Now Meng Ta had previously said in 
a letter to Chu-ko Liang: "Wan is 1200 li from here. When the news 
of my revolt reaches Ssti-ma I, he will at once inform his Imperial Master, 
but it will be a whole month before any steps can be taken, and by that 

I2 3 

so. Jl I? 2 * A JW A 

time my city will be well fortified. Besides, Ssu-ma I is sure not to 
come himself, and the generals that will be sent against us are not 
worth troubling about." The next letter, however, was filled with con- 
sternation : "Though only eight days have passed since I threw off my 
allegiance, an army is already at the city-gates. What miraculous rapidity 
is this!" A fortnight later, Hsin-ch'eng had fallen and Meng Ta had 
lost his -head. [See Chin Shu, ch. i, f. 3.] In 621 A.D., Li Ching was 
sent from j. M4 K'uei-chou in Ssti-ch'uan to reduce the successful 

rebel jljlj 1 $fa Hsiao Hsien, who had set up as Emperor at the modern 

ffil ^N Ching-chou F U in Hupeh. It was autumn, and the Yangtsze 
being then in flood, Hsiao Hsien never dreamt that his adversary would 
venture to come down through the gorges, and consequently made no 
preparations. But Li Ching embarked his army without loss of time, and 
was just about to start when the other generals implored him to postpone 
his departure until the river was in a less dangerous state for navigation. 
Li Ching replied: "To the soldier, overwhelming speed is of paramount 
importance, and he must never miss opportunities. Now is the time to 
strike, before Hsiao Hsien even knows that we have got an army together. 
If we seize the present moment when the river is in flood, we shall ap- 
pear before his capital with startling suddenness, like the thunder which 
is heard before you have time to stop your ears against it. [See VII, 
19, note.] This is the great principle in war. Even if he gets to know 
of our approach, he will have to levy his soldiers in such a hurry that 
they will not be fit to oppose us. Thus the full fruits of victory will be 
ours." All came about as he predicted, and Hsiao Hsien was obliged to 
surrender, nobly stipulating that his people should be spared and he alone 
suffer the penalty of death. [See Hsin T^ang Shu, ch. 93, f. i v.~\ 

take advantage of the enemy's unreadiness, make your 
way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots. 

20. The following are the principles to be observed by 
an invading force : The further you penetrate into a country, 
the greater will be the solidarity of your troops, and thus 
the defenders will not prevail against you. 

21. Make forays in fertile country in order to supply 
your army with food. 

Cf. supra, 13. Li Ch'iian does not venture on a note here. 

22. Carefully study the well-being of your men, 


HI ^, according to Wang Hsi, means: ft ^ ffc j J^ fl 

"Pet them, humour them, give them plenty of food and drink, and look 
after them generally." 

and do not overtax them. Concentrate your energy and 
hoard your strength. 

Tu Mu explains these words in a rhyming couplet: ||| -j^ ^J ^ 
' 1 flX Jffi> and Ch ^ n recalls the line of action adopted in 2 24 B.C. 
by the famous general ^ l|jj Wang Chien, whose military genius largely 
contributed to the success of the First Emperor. He had invaded the 
Ch'u State, where a universal levy was made to oppose him. But, being 
doubtful of the temper of his troops, he declined all invitations to fight 
and remained strictly on the defensive. In vain did the Ch'u general try 
to force a battle: day after day Wang Chien kept inside his walls and 
would not come out, but devoted his whole time and energy to winning 
the affection and confidence of his men. He took care that they should 
be well fed, sharing his own meals with them, provided facilities for 
bathing, and employed every method of judicious indulgence to weld 
them into a loyal and homogeneous body. After some time had elapsed, 
he told off certain persons to find out how the men were amusing them- 
selves. The answer was, that they were contending with one another in 
putting the weight and long-jumping (^ ^ jjg Jiff?). When Wang 
Chien heard that they were engaged in these athletic pursuits, he knew 
that their spirits had been strung up to the required pitch and that they 
were now ready for fighting. By this time the Ch'u army, after repeating 
their challenge again and again, had marched away eastwards in disgust. 
The Ch'in general immediately broke up his camp and followed them, 
and in the battle that ensued they were routed with great slaughter. 
Shortly afterwards, the whole of Ch'u was conquered by Ch'in, and the 
king j| ^ Fu-ch'u led into captivity. [See Shih Chi, ch. 73, f. 5 r. 
It should be noted that, ^ being a taboo character under the Ch'in 
dynasty, the name figures as ^jj|j throughout.] 

Keep your army continually on the move, 

In order that the enemy may never know exactly where you are. It has 
struck me, however, that the true reading might be, not yjj[ & , but 

5J| _j "link your army together" [cf. supra 46, |f g$. $J JQ ], 
which would be more in keeping with ffi sjfr |j| Jj . Capt. Calthrop 
cuts the Gordian knot by omitting the words altogether. 

and devise unfathomable plans. 

Ch'ang YQ's paraphrase is: 


23. Z m ffi a 5B Jl # * 5E 1 ^ ft A H 

24. j* & fig jin ifimm jjfr tt jw m * A M>J w 

23. Throw your soldiers into positions whence there is A 
no escape, and they will prefer death to flight. $ 

Cf. Nicias' speech to the Athenians: To rs J-VPTTUV yvurs, 5 av^pes") H 
(TTpUTturM, u,vu,yxa,\QV re ov (//wTv avSfxeiv cLyuAoic, yiyvccrbcci, a$ py ovro$ 
%up!ov syyvs OTTCI &v (tahstxtffbsvTSS (rubetre, etc. [Thuc. VII. 77. vii.] /u. 

If they will face death, there is nothing they may not achieve. ^ 

^ by itself constitutes the protasis, and ^ is the interrogative = 7J^ . 
Capt. Calthrop makes the protasis end with ^ : "If there be no alter- 
native but death." But I do not see how this is to be got out of the 
Chinese. Chang Yii gives a clear paraphrase : J^ Zj 5E 

, and quotes his favourite Wei Liao Tzu (ch. 3): 

m H H A g 

-{^ "If one man were to run amok with a sword in the market-place, 
and everybody else tried to get out of his way, I should not allow that 
this man alone had courage and that all the rest were contemptible 
cowards. The truth is, that a desperado and a man who sets some value 
on his life do not meet on even terms." 

Officers and men alike will put forth their uttermost strength. 
J^ A appears to stand for the more usual -f- 7X . Chang Yii says : 

i^^mitb^r^^^^S^ " lf the y are in an awkward 

place together, they will surely exert their united strength to get out of it." 

24. Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense 
nf fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand 
firm If they are in the heart of a hostile country, they 
will show a stubborn front. 

Capt. Calthrop weakly says: "there is unity," as though the text were 
^|J S, as in 20. But ^pj introduces quite a new idea that of 
tenacity -- which Ts'ao Kung tries to explain by the word ^JJJ "to 
bind fast." 

If there is no help for it, they will fight hard. 


25. Thus, without waiting to be marshalled, the soldiers 
will be constantly on the qui vive; 

Tu Mu says: ^ ^ \$ ^ jfjj #J f|| Capt. Calthrop wrongly 
translates ^ ^ "without warnings." 

without waiting to be asked, they will do your will; 

Literally, "without asking, you will get." Chang Yii's paraphrase is: 

without restrictions, they will be faithful ; 

Chang Ytt says: ^ jjft ^ ffij 
without giving orders, they can be trusted. 

This last clause is very similar in sense to the one preceding, except 
that jjp^ indicates the soldiers' attachment to their leader, and 'fpf the 
leader's attitude towards them. I rather doubt if ^ can mean "they 
will have confidence in their leader," as the commentary seems to indi- 
cate. That way, the sense is not nearly so good. On the other hand, it 
is just possible that here, as in VIII. 8 and infra, 55, > fp| may = ^ : 
"without orders, they will carry out [their leader's plans]." The whole 
of this paragraph, of course, has reference to "desperate ground." 

26. Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with 
superstitious doubts. 

jjfp is amplified by Ts'ao Kung into Iffi jffi ~ =^ , and ^p^into 
I! 1^ ft' Cf< the Ss "- ma Fa , ch - 3: 
Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared. 

The superstitious, "bound in to saucy doubts and fears," degenerate 
into cowards and "die many times before their deaths." Tu Mu quotes 
Huang Shih-kung: tt /[A jjjj? ^ 

1^1 ?S 91 5 i ^2 ^ "'Spells and incantations should be strictly 
forbidden, and no officer allowed to inquire by divination into the fortunes 
of an army, for fear the soldier's minds should be seriously perturbed.' 
The meaning is," he continues, "that if all doubts and scruples are dis- 


irffft ft* ft ft ***#** 


carded, your men will never falter in their resolution until they die." 
The reading of the standard text is fi| Jfjff- ^ "there will be no refuge," 
which does not fit in well here. I therefore prefer to adopt the variant 
5^ , which evidently stood in Li Ch'iian's text. 

27. If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, 
it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their 
lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are dis- 
inclined to longevity. 

Chang Yu has the best note on this passage : jj 

ti ill "Wealth and long life are things for which all men have 
a natural inclination. Hence, if they burn or fling away valuables, and 
sacrifice their own lives, it is not that they dislike them, but simply that 
they have no choice." Sun Tzu is slyly insinuating that, as soldiers are 
but human, it is for the general to see that temptations to shirk fighting 
and grow rich are not thrown in their way. Capt. Calthrop, mistaking 
jj& for the adjective, has: "not because money is a bad thing ... not 
because long life is evil." 

28. On the day they are ordered out to battle, your 
soldiers may weep, 

The word in the Chinese is ^ "snivel." This is taken to indicate 
more genuine grief than tears alone. 

those sitting up bedewing their garments, and those lying 
down letting the tears run down their cheeks. 

Not because they are afraid, but because, as Ts'ao Kung says, Jjj ^p jjfi\ 
ffi tj[\ "all have embraced the firm resolution to do or die." We 
may remember that the heroes of the Iliad were equally childlike in 
showing their emotion. Chang Yu alludes to the mournful parting at the 
^ I River between ^jj ijjpj" Ching K'o and his friends, when the former 
was sent to attempt the life of the King of Ch'in (afterwards First Emperor) 
in 227 B.C. The tears of all flowed down like rain as he bade them 

farewell and uttered the following lines: Jjj^ jHf JJJJJ tfj> ^ ^ 2J ^ % 


^ttsS "The shrill blast is blowing, Chilly the 
burn; Your champion is going Not to return."* 
But let them once be brought to bay, and they will display 
the courage of a Chu or a Kuei. 

H& was the personal name of Jll ^ Chuan Chu, a native of the Wu 
State and contemporary with Sun Tzu himself, who was employed by 
^ jy. -^ Kung-tzu Kuang, better known as Ho Lii Wang, to assas- 
sinate his sovereign ^ ^j? Wang Liao with a dagger which he secreted 
in the belly of a fish served up at a banquet. He succeeded in his at- 
tempt, but was immediately hacked to pieces by the king's bodyguard. 
This was in 515 B.C. The other hero referred to, ||f J|r|J Ts'ao Kuei 
(or Ts'ao ^k Mo), performed the exploit which has made his name 
famous 166 years earlier, in 681 B.C. Lu had been thrice defeated by 
Ch'i, and was just about to conclude a treaty surrendering a large slice 
of territory, when Ts'ao Kuei suddenly seized ^Q ^ Huan Kung, the 
Duke of Ch'i, as he stood on the altar steps and held a dagger against 
his chest. None of the Duke's retainers dared to move a muscle, and 
Ts'ao Kuei proceeded to demand full restitution, declaring that Lu was 
being unjustly treated because she was a smaller and weaker state. Huan 
Kung, in peril of his life, was obliged to consent, whereupon Ts'ao Kuei 
flung away his dagger and quietly resumed his place amid the terrified 
assemblage without having so much as changed colour. As was to be 
expected, the Duke wanted afterwards to lepudiate the bargain, but his 
wise old counsellor ^ -ffjl Kuan Chung pointed out to him the impolicy 
of breaking his word, and the upshot was that this bold stroke regained 
for Lu the whole of what she had lost in three pitched battles. [For 
another anecdote of Ts'ao Kuei see VII. 27, note; and for the biogra- 
phies of these three bravos, Ts'ao, Chuan and Ching, see Shih Chi, ch. 86.] 

29. The skilful tactician may be likened to the shuai-jan. 
Now the shiiai-jan is a snake that is found in the Ch'ang 
mountains. ufeSA?/ 7 

2p jffi means "suddenly" or "rapidly," and the snake in question was 
doubtless so called owing to the rapidity of its movements. Through 
this passage, the term has now come to be used in the sense of "military 
manoeuvres." The ^ jj[| have apparently not been identified. 

* Giles' Biographical Dictionary, no. 399. 


Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; 
strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; 
strike at its middle, 

Another reading in the Yu Lan for pb is Hff "belly." 
and you will be attacked by head and tail both. 

30. Asked if an army can be made to imitate the 

That is, as Mei Yao-ch'en says, ^^^^J^^^^^ 
]jffl HH -3p> "Is it possible to make the front and rear of an army 
each swiftly responsive to attack on the other, just as though they were 
parts of a single living body ?" 

I should answer, Yes. For the men of Wu and the men 
of Ylieh are enemies; 

Cf. VI. 21. 

yet if they are crossing a river in the same boat and 
are caught by a storm, they will come to each other's 
assistance just as the left hand helps the right. 

The meaning is : If two enemies will help each other in a time of com- 
mon peril, how much more should two parts of the same army, bound 
together as they are by every tie of interest and fellow-feeling. Yet it is 
notorious that many a campaign has been ruined through lack of co- 
operation, especially in the case of allied armies. 

31. Hence it is not enough to put one's trust in the 
tethering of horses, 

~^J is said here to be equivalent to ^| . 
and the burying of chariot wheels in the ground. 

These quaint devices to prevent one's army from running away recall 
the Athenian hero Sophanes, who carried an anchor with him at the 
battle of Plataea, by means of which he fastened himself firmly to one 
spot. [See Herodotus, IX. 74.] It is not enough, says Sun Tzu, to render 
flight impossible by such mechanical means. You will not succeed unless 


1 3 o 




your men have tenacity and unity of purpose, and, above all, a spirit of 
sympathetic co-operation. This is the lesson which can be learned from 
the shnai-jan. 

32. The principle on which to manage an army is to 
set up one standard of courage which all must reach. 

Literally, "level the courage [of all] as though [it were that of] one." 
If the ideal army is to form a single organic whole, then it follows that 
the resolution and spirit of its component parts must be of the same 
quality, or at any rate must not fall below a certain standard. Wellington's 
seemingly ungrateful description of his army at Waterloo as "the worst 
he had ever commanded" meant no more than that it was deficient in 
this important particular -- unity of spirit and courage. Had he not 
foreseen the Belgian defections and carefully kept those troops in the 
background, he would almost certainly have lost the day. 

33. How to make the best of both strong and weak 
- that is a question involving the proper use of ground. 

This is rather a hard sentence on the first reading, but the key to it 
will be found, firstly, in the pause after ^;, and next, in the meaning 
of ^ itself. The best equivalent for this that I can think of is the 
German "zur Geltung kommen." Mei Yao-ch'en's paraphrase is: J fi 

$($}%inJft%&ffi*&Z1&& " The wa y to elimin "" e 

the differences of strong and weak and to make both serviceable is to 
utilise accidental features of the ground." Less reliable troops, if posted 
in strong positions, will hold out as long as better troops on more exposed 
terrain. The advantage of position neutralises the inferiority in stamina 
and courage. Col. Henderson says: "With all respect to the text books, 
and to ordinary tactical teaching, I am inclined to think that the study 
of ground is often overlooked, and that by no means sufficient importance 
is attached to the selection of positions . . . and to the immense advantages 
that are to be derived, whether you are defending or attacking, from the 
proper utilisation of natural features." * 

34. Thus the skilful general conducts his army just as 
though he were leading a single man, willy-nilly, by 
the hand. 

p. 333. 


Tu Mu says : $jfa ^ "The simile has reference to the ease with 

which he does it." jf\ ^ Q means that he makes it impossible for 
his troops to do otherwise than obey. Chang Yii quotes a jingle, to be 
found in Wu Tzti, ch. 4: ^f Z ffi # , ^ 

35. It is the business of a general to be quiet and thus 
ensure secrecy; upright and just, and thus maintain order. 

pjp seems to combine the meanings "noiseless" and "imperturbable," 
both of which attributes would of course conduce to secrecy. Tu Mu 
explains |^| as |^| $jg || ffjlj "deep and inscrutable," and J as ^ 

"|F IJHE y (j|j "fair and unbiassed." Mei Yao-ch'en alone among the com- 
mentators takes */Snr in the sense of 1=3 i& "self-controlled." ||| and 

I I I T99 K-^-l 

{^ are causally connected with j|j|J and "|p respectively. This is not 
brought out at all in Capt. Calthrop's rendering: "The general should be 
calm, inscrutable, just and prudent." The last adjective, moreover, can 
in no sense be said to represent jjj^j . 

36. He must be able to mystify his officers and men 
by false reports and appearances, 

Literally, "to deceive their eyes and ears" j^ being here used as 
a verb in the sense of j|JJ. 

and thus keep them in total ignorance. 

Ts'ao Kung gives us one of his excellent apophthegms: ^^ ~jjj* ffi 

^ J& ^ W ^ JS> #& " The tro p s must not be allowed to share 

your schemes in the beginning; they may only rejoice with you over 
their happy outcome." "To mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy," 
is one of the first principles in war, as has been frequently pointed out. 
But how about the other process the mystification of one's own men? 
Those who may think that Sun Tzti is over-emphatic on this point would 
do well to read Col. Henderson's remarks on Stonewall Jackson's Valley 
campaign: "The infinite pains," he says, "with which Jackson sought to 
conceal, even from his most trusted staff officers, his movements, his in- 
tentions, and his thoughts, a commander less thorough would have pro- 
nounced useless" etc. etc. * In the year 88 A.D., as we read in ch. 47 

* "Stonewall Jackson," vol. I, p. 421. 



of the ffou Han Shu, "Pan Ch'ao took the field with 25,000 men from 
Khotan and other Central Asian states wi th the object of crushing Yarkand. 
The King of Kutcha replied by dispatching his chief commander to suc- 
cour the place with an army drawn from the kingdoms of Wen-su, Ku- 
mo and Wei-t'ou, totalling 50,000 men. Pan Ch'ao summoned his officers 
and also the King of Khotan to a council of war, and said: 'Our forces 
are now outnumbered and unable to make head against the enemy. The 
best plan, then, is for us to separate and disperse, each in a different 
direction. The King of Khotan will march away by the easterly route, 
and I will then return myself towards the west. Let us wait until the 
evening drum has sounded and then start.' Pan Ch'ao now secretly 
released the prisoners whom he had taken alive, and the King of Kutcha 
was thus informed of his plans. Much elated by the news, the latter set 
off at once at the head of 10,000 horsemen to bar Pan Ch'ao's retreat 
in the west, while the King of Wen-su rode eastwards with 8000 horse 
in order to intercept the King of Khotan. As soon as Pan Ch'ao knew 
that the two chieftains had gone, he called his divisions together, got 
them well in hand, and at cock-crow hurled them against the army of 
Yarkand, as it lay encamped. The barbarians, panic-stricken, fled in 
confusion, and were closely pursued by Pan Ch'ao. Over 5000 heads were 
brought back as trophies, besides immense spoils in the shape of horses 
and cattle and valuables of every description. Yarkand then capitulating, 
Kutcha and the other kingdoms drew off their respective forces. From 
that time forward, Pan Ch'ao's prestige completely overawed the countries 
of the west." In this case, we see that the Chinese general not only 
kept his own officers in ignorance of his real plans, but actually took the 
bold step of dividing his army in order to deceive the enemy. 

37. By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, 

Wang Hsi thinks that this means, not using the same stratagem twice. He 

he keeps the enemy without definite knowledge. 

Note that ^ denotes the enemy, as opposed to the -^ ~tt of 36. 
Capt. Calthrop, not perceiving this, joins the two paragraphs into one. 
Chang Ytt quotes ;fc ^ Ul A as S ^S'- & f| ft * $ ft jt 

it n & nm 3%&n&m^&&z& -^ 

axiom, that war is based on deception, does not apply only to deception 
of the enemy. You must deceive even your own soldiers. Make them 
follow you, but without letting them know why." 



z m m 

By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he 
prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose. 

Wang Hsi paraphrases ^ jit J as j|| ^ ^g- "camp on easy 
ground," and Chang Yti follows him, saying: ijt Jg j||J = |^ fj^ 

jgft Jj; . But this is an utterly untenable view. For j ^ ^ , 
cf. VII. 4. Chia Lin, retaining his old interpretation of those words, is 
now obliged to explain ^ ijt JJE~ as "cause the enemy to shift his camp," 
which is awkward in the extreme. 

38. At the critical moment, the leader of an army acts 
like one who has climbed up a height and then kicks 
away the ladder behind him. ' 

I must candidly confess that I do not understand the syntax of ^[[j] IM 
^^ JIB , though the meaning is fairly plain. The difficulty has evidently 
been felt, for Tu Mu tells us that one text omits SH fl . It is more 
likely, however, that a couple of characters have dropped out. 

He carries his men deep into hostile territory before he 
shows his hand. 

j||, literally, "releases the spring" (see V. 15), that is, takes 
some decisive step which makes it impossible for the army to return 
like ;j|| ^JJ Hsiang Yii, who sunk his ships after crossing a river. Ch'en 
Hao, followed by Chia Lin, understands the words less well as ^ IS 
AH* fjjl "puts forth every artifice at his command." But |^ in this derived 
sense occurs nowhere else in Sun Tzu. 

39. Jie burns his boats and breaks his cooking-pots; 
Omitted in the Tu Shu. 

like a shepherd driving a flock of sheep, he drives his 
men this way and that, and none knows whither he is going. 

The Tu Shu inserts another |g after i . Tu Mu says: 

ft&&2ft^ft&jytZ1$i& " The arm y is 

cognisant of orders to advance or retreat; it is ignorant of the ulterior 
ends of attacking and conquering." 




40. To muster his host and bring it into danger: 
this may be termed the business of the general. 

Sun Tzu means that after mobilisation there should be no delay in 
aiming a blow at the enemy's heart. With ^ ^ J^ fflfe cf. supra, 
23 : ^ ^ 4ft^ l^r ; . Note how he returns again and again to this 
point. Among the warring states of ancient China, desertion was no 
doubt a much more present fear and serious evil than it is in the armies 
of to-day. 

41. The different measures suited to the nine varieties 
of ground; 

Chang Yii says: Jl *& & ^ Pf ^J $6 " One must not be 
hide-bound in interpreting the rules for the nine varieties of ground. 

the expediency of aggressive or defensive tactics; 

The use of IS -frfj "contraction and expansion" may be illustrated by 

/r^ I I 

the saying JjjJ J^j[ 3^ -j^ , which almost exactly corresponds to the French 
"il faut reculer pour mieux sauter." * Capt. Calthrop, more suo, avoids 
a real translation and has: "the suiting of the means to the occasion." 

and the fundamental laws of human nature : these are 
things that must most certainly be studied. 

42. When invading hostile territory, the general prin- 
ciple is, that penetrating deeply brings cohesion ; penetrating 
but a short way means dispersion. 

Cf. supra, 20. 

43. When you leave your own country behind, and 
take your army across neighbouring territory, 

Chang Ytt's paraphrase is jffl ^ gj|} ^ . 
you find yourself on critical ground. 

* See Giles' Dictionary, no. 9817. 



This "ground" is cursorily mentioned in VIII. 2, but it does not 
figure among the Nine J^Jj of this chapter or the Six Jjjj ^ in chap. X. 
One's first impulse would be to translate it "distant ground" ( jjjjjtj jxjfa 
is commonly used in the sense of "distant lands"), but this, if we can 
trust the commentators, is precisely what is not meant here. Mei Yao- 

ch'en says it is j ^ S # & ^ *ft 2 BB * 

"a position not far enough advanced to be called 'facile,' and not near 
enough to home to be called 'dispersive,' but something between the 
two." That, of course, does not explain the name ^ , which seems to 
imply that the general has severed his communications and temporarily 
cut himself off from his base. Thus, Wang Hsi says : "It is ground sepa- 
rated from home by an interjacent state, whose territory we have had to 
cross in order to reach it. Hence it is incumbent on us to settle our 
business there quickly." He adds that this position is of rare occurrence, 
which is the reason why it is not included among the ~j\^ ]fy. 
Calthrop gives but a poor rendering of this sentence: "To leave home 
and cross the borders is to be free from interference." 

When there are means of communication 

The T^u Shu reads jj^ for ^| . 
on all four sides, the ground is one of intersecting highways. 

From IJtj ^| down to the end of 45, we have some of the definitions 
of the early part of the chapter repeated in slightly different language. 
Capt. Calthrop omits these altogether. 

44. When you penetrate deeply into a country, it is 
serious ground. When you penetrate but a little way, it 
is facile ground. 

45. When you have the enemy's strongholds on your rear, 

and narrow passes in front, it is hemmed-in ground. When 
there is no place of refuge at all, it is desperate ground. 

46. Therefore, on dispersive ground, I would inspire 
my men with unity of purpose. 



This end, according to Tu Mu, is best attained by remaining on the 
defensive, and avoiding battle. Cf. supra, n. 

On facile ground, I would see that there is close con- 
nection between all parts of my army. 

The T'ung Tien has "fr instead of ^ . The present reading is sup- 
ported by the ^H gj of Cheng Yu-hsien. As Tu Mu says, the object 
is to guard against two possible contingencies: ^ / |jj| j j^ $& 
Hi ^ ?S S jijfc fP. "(*) ^ e desertion of our own troops; (2) a 
sudden attack on the part of the enemy." Cf. VII. 17 : 

Mei Yao-ch'en says: ft fl 1^ # ffi it 18 

"On the march, the regiments should be in close touch; in an encamp- 
ment, there should be continuity between the fortifications." He seems 
to have forgotten, by the way, what Sun Tzu says above: iijff Jjjj j||J 

47. On contentious ground, I would hurry up my rear. 

This is Ts'ao Kung's interpretation. Chang Yu adopts its, saying: 
|jJ^S^'j|j'ffJI^5g "We must quickly bring up our 
rear, so that head and tail may both reach the goal." That is, they must 
not be allowed to straggle up a long way apart. Mei Yao-ch'en offers 
another equally plausible explanation: jj| ^ jg lit ijjj ^ ^ ^ 
^ K'J Hf ^ ^ Jl ^ ^ "Supposing the enemy has not yet reached 
the coveted position, and we are behind him, we should advance with 
all speed in order to dispute its possession." "ffi would thus denote the 
enemy, ^ being the preposition, and ^^ would retain its usual intrans- 

itive sense. Cf. VII. 4: ^AI^^tA^' Ch<<n Hao ' on 
the other hand, assuming that the enemy has had time select his own 
ground, quotes VI. i, where Sun Tzu warns us against coming exhausted 
to the attack. His own idea of the situation is rather vaguely expressed: 

JaA^ill^^m^M^ " If there is a ^curable 
position lying in front of you, detach a picked body of troops to occupy 
it; then if the enemy, relying on their numbers, come up to make a fight 
for it, you may fall quickly on their rear with your main body, and 
victory will be assured." It was thus, he adds, that Chao She beat 
the army of Ch'in. [See p. 57.] Li Ch'iian would read ^ for g , it 
is not easy to see why. 

48. On open ground, I would keep a vigilant eye on 
my defences. 

As Wang Hsi says, ||| j|j ^ fy "fearing a surprise attack." The 
Tung Tien reads here |gj lj jj^t (see next sentence). 

On ground of intersecting highways, I would consolidate 
my alliances. 

The Tung Tien reads ^| S fjj , which Tu Yu explains as "watching 

the market towns," $i& ||L ~5? jS "the hotbeds of revolution." Capt. 
-5c ^r *~ *Tin 

Calthrop translates [jj] ^ -fejj by the same words as -^ ^ in 12: 

"cultivate intercourse." 

49. On serious ground, I would try to ensure a con- 
tinuous stream of supplies. 

The commentators take this as referring to forage and plunder, not, as 
one might expect, to an unbroken communication with a home base. 
One text, indeed, gives the reading ijjaf "ffi ^ . Cf. 13. Capt. Calthrop's 
"be careful of supplies" fails to render the force of ||! . 

On difficult ground, I would keep pushing on along the road. 

Capt. Calthrop's "do not linger" cannot be called a translation, but 
only a paraphrase of the paraphrase offered by Ts'ao Kung : Jj^ jjJ ^ -{^ 
"Pass away from it in all haste." 

50. On hemmed-in ground, I would block any way 
of retreat. 

^^^|||^Jj[j*|jS| "To make it seem that I mean to 
defend the position, whereas my real intention is to burst suddenly through 
the enemy's lines" [Meng Shih]; 'gl j^ 2J ^ ^B 1$ ifc " in order 
to make my soldiers fight with desperation" [Mei Yao-ch'en]; |j|| ^ 
^f ^ ^ "fearing lest my men be tempted to run away" [Wang Hsi]. 
Tu Mu points out that this is the converse of VII. 36, where it is the 
enemy who is surrounded. In 532 A.D., ~fjjj ||jj Kao Huan, afterwards 
Emperor and canonised as j|fl jj Shen-wu, was surrounded by a great 

army under ^ ^ % Erh-chu Chao and others. His own force was 
comparatively small, consisting only of 2000 horse and something under 
30,000 foot. The lines of investment had not been drawn very closely 
together, gaps being left at certain points. But Kao Huan, instead of 
trying to escape, actually made a shift to block all the remaining outlets 
himself by driving into them a number of oxen and donkeys roped to- 
gether. As soon as his officers and men saw that there was nothing for 
it but to conquer or die, their spirits rose to an extraordinary pitch of 
exaltation, and they charged with such desperate ferocity that the opposing 
ranks broke and crumbled under their onslaught. [See Tu Mu's com- 
mentary, and ^ ch. i, fol. 6.] 

On desperate ground, I would proclaim to my soldiers 
the hopelessness of saving their lives. 

Tu Yu says: f 

$fa 5^ ^E Hfe "tit "Burn your baggage and impedimenta, throw away 
your stores and provisions, choke up the wells, destroy your cooking- 
stoves, and make it plain to your men that they cannot survive, but 
must fight to the death." Mei Yao-ch'en says epigrammatically : jj\ ^ 
~pT ^ "The only chance of life lies in giving up all hope of it." This 
concludes what Sun Tzu has to say about "grounds" and the "variations" 
corresponding to them. Reviewing the passages which bear on this im- 
portant subject, we cannot fail to be struck by the desultory and unme- 
thodical fashion in which it is treated. Sun Tzu begins abruptly in VIII. 
2 to enumerate "variations" before touching on "grounds" at all, but 
only mentions five, namely nos. 7, 5, 8 and 9 of the subsequent list, and 
one that is not included in it. A few varieties of ground are dealt with 
in the earlier portion of chap. IX, and then chap. X sets forth six new 
grounds, with six variations of plan to match. None of these is mentioned 
again, though the first is hardly to be distinguished from ground no. 4 
in the next chapter. At last, in chap. XI, we come to the Nine Grounds 
par excellence, immediately followed by the variations. This takes us 
down to 14. In 43 45, fresh definitions are provided for nos. 5,6, 
2, 8 and 9 (in the order given), as well as for the tenth ground noticed 
in chap VIII; and finally, the nine variations are enumerated once more 
from beginning to end, all, with the exception of 5, 6 and 7, being dif- 
ferent from those previously given. Though it is impossible to account 
for the present state of Sun Tzu's text, a few suggestive facts may be 
brought into prominence: (i) Chap. VIII, according to the title, should 
deal with nine variations, whereas only five appear. (2) It is an abnorm- 
ally short chapter. (3) Chap. XI is entitled The Nine Grounds. Several 
of these are defined twice over, besides which there are two distinct lists 
of the corresponding variations. (4) The length of the chapter is dispro- 
portionate, being double that of any other except IX. I do not propose 


n m m 

to draw any inferences from these facts, beyond the general conclusion 
that Sun Tzti's work cannot have come down to us in the shape in which 
it left his hands: chap. VIII is obviously defective and probably out of 
place, while XI seems to contain matter that has either been added by a 
later hand or ought to appear elsewhere. 

51. For it is the soldier's disposition to offer an ob- 
stinate resistance when surrounded, to fight hard when 
he cannot help himself, and to obey promptly when he 
has fallen into danger. 

jfi till 3& * s ren dered by Capt. Calthrop : "to pursue the enemy if he 
retreat." But j^ cannot mean "to retreat." Its primary sense is to 
pass over, hence to go too far, to exceed or to err. Here, however, the 
word has lost all implication of censure, and appears to mean "to pass 
the boundary line dividing safety from danger," or, as Chang Yii puts it, 
$? R ^ iol H Wj " to be deeply involved in a perilous position." 
The latter commentator alludes to the conduct of Pan Ch'ao's devoted 
followers in 73 A.D. The story runs thus in the Hou Han Shu, ch. 47, 
fol. iv: "When Pan Ch'ao arrived at |||J || Shan-shan, J| Kuang, 
the King of the country, received him at first with great politeness and 
respect; but shortly afterwards his behaviour underwent a sudden change, 
and he became remiss and negligent. Pan Ch'ao spoke about this to 
the officers of his suite: 'Have you not noticed,' he said, 'that Kuang's 
polite intentions are on the wane? This must signify that envoys have 
come from the Northern barbarians, and that consequently he is in a 
state of indecision, not knowing with which side to throw in his lot. 
That surely is the reason. The truly wise man, we are told, can perceive 
things before they have come to pass; how much more, then, those that 
are already manifest!' Thereupon he called one of the natives who had 
been assigned to his service, and set a trap for him, saying: 'Where are 
those envoys from the Hsiung-nu who arrived some days ago?' The man 
was so taken aback that between surprise and fear he presently blurted 
out the whole truth. Pan Ch'ao, keeping his informant carefully under 
lock and key, then summoned a general gathering of his officers, thirty- 
six in all, and began drinking with them. When the wine had mounted 
into their heads a little, he tried to rouse their spirit still further by ad- 
dressing them thus : 'Gentlemen, here we are in the heart of an isolated 
region, anxious to achieve riches and honour by some great exploit. Now 
it happens that an ambassador from the Hsiung-nu arrived in this kingdom 
only a few days ago, and the result is that the respectful courtesy ex- 
tended towards us by our royal host has disappeared. Should this envoy 
prevail upon him to seize our party and hand us over to the Hsiung-nu, 



53. 3 

our bones will become food for the wolves of the desert. What are we 
to do ?' With one accord, the officers replied : 'Standing as we do in peril 
of our lives, we will follow (our commander through life and death* 

(4#)atr*tb5E$t^.i )" For the se i uel of this 

adventure, see chap. XII. i, note. 

52. We cannot enter into alliance with neighbouring 
princes until we are acquainted with their designs. We 
are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are 
familiar with the face of the country its mountains and 
forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps. 
We shall be unable to turn natural advantages to account 
unless we make use of local guides. 

These three sentences are repeated from VII. 12 14 in order to 
emphasise their importance, the commentators seem to think. I prefer 
to regard them as interpolated here in order to form an antecedent to 
the following words. With regard to local guides, Sun Tzu might have 
added that there is always the risk of going wrong, either through their 
treachery or some misunderstanding such as Livy records (XXII. 13): 
Hannibal, we are told, ordered a guide to lead him into the neighbourhood 
of Casinum, where there was an important pass to be occupied; but his 
Carthaginian accent, unsuited to the pronunciation of Latin names, caused 
the guide to understand Casilinum instead of Casinum, and turning from 
his proper route, he took the army in that direction, the mistake not 
being discovered until they had almost arrived. 

53. To be ignorant of any one of the following four 
or five principles 

Referring, I think, to what is contained in 54, 55. Ts'ao Kung, 
thinking perhaps of the 3 ^|J in VIII. 6, takes them to be fa jfy 
^ ^|J ^| "the advantages and disadvantages attendant on the nine 
varieties of ground." The Tu Shu reads jf = ^ . 

does not befit a warlike prince. 

"one who rules by force," was a term specially used for those 
princes who established their hegemony over other feudal states. The 

famous 3L HI of the ;th century B.C. were (i) ^ ^g ^. Duke Huan 
of Ch'i (2) ^ ^ -^ Duke Wen of Chin, (3) 7J^ j| -^ Duke Hsiang 
of Sung, (4) ^ Ijj: : Prince Chuang of Ch'u, (5) ^ ^ ^ Duke 
Mu of Ch'in. Their reigns covered the period 685 591 B.C. 

54. When a warlike prince attacks a powerful state, 
his generalship shows itself in preventing the concentration 
of the enemy's forces. He overawes his opponents, 

Here and in the next sentence, the Yu Lan inserts n after . 

and their allies are prevented from joining against him. 

Mei Yao-ch'en constructs one of the chains of reasoning that are so 
much affected by the Chinese : "In attacking a powerful state, if you can 
divide her forces, you will have a superiority in strength ; if you have a 
superiority in strength, you will overawe the enemy ; if you overawe the 
enemy, the neighbouring states will be frightened; and if the neighbouring 
states are frightened, the enemy's allies will be prevented from joining 
her." The following gives a stronger meaning to Jg^ JljJJ : ^k -fc HU 

' $L JW /l^ H ^ fi5 >P Jpl r^C "^ ^ e & reat state h as once been 
defeated (before she has had time to summon her allies), then the lesser 
states will hold aloof and refrain from massing their forces." Ch'en Hao 
and Chang Yii take the sentence in quite another way. The former 
says: "Powerful though a prince may be, if he attacks a large state, he 
will be unable to raise enough troops, and must rfely to some extent on 
external aid; if he dispenses with this, and with overweening confidence 
in his own strength, simply tries to intimidate the enemy, he will surely 
be defeated." Chang Yii puts his view thus: "If we recklessly attack a 
large state, our own people will be discontented and hang back. But if 
(as will then be the case) our display of military force is inferior by half 
to that of the enemy, the other chieftains will take fright and refuse to 
join us." According to this interpretation, it would refer, not to the 
~Ac H but to t^e SB I himself. 

55. Hence he does not strive 
For 3 the Yu Lan reads A . 




to ally himself with all and sundry, 

^ ~K , as in 6, stands for ^ ^ "the feudal princes," or the 
states ruled by them. 

nor does he foster the power of other states. He carries 
out his own secret designs, 

For t=* (read shn ! ) in the meaning of ^b , cf. VIII. 8. The com- 
mentators are unanimous on this point, and we must therefore beware 
of translating >jpf ^ fy by "secretly self-confident" or the like. 

Capt. Calthrop (omitting ^ ^ ) has : "he has confidence in himself." 
keeping his antagonists in awe. 

The train of thought appears to be this : Secure against a combination 
of his enemies, & ^ T It # # B # jfe jS 
Pfl fit %h ^J? 5j||* "he can afford to reject entangling alliances and 
simply pursue his own secret designs, his prestige enabling him to dispense 
with external friendships." (Li Ch'iian.) 

Thus he is able to capture their cities and overthrow 
their kingdoms. 

This paragraph, though written many years before the Ch'in State be- 
came a serious menace, is not a bad summary of the policy by which 
the famous Six Chancellors gradually paved the way for her final triumph 
under Shih Huang Ti. Chang Yii, following up his previous note, thinks 
that Sun Tzti is condemning this attitude of cold-blooded selfishness and 
haughty isolation. He again refers Jit to the warlike prince, thus making 
it appear that in the end he is bound to succumb. 

56. Bestow rewards without regard to rule, 

Wu Tzu (ch. 3) less wisely says: ^^Slt^&^JtWJ 
"Let advance be richly rewarded and retreat be heavily punished." 

issue orders 

^, literally, "hang" or "post up." 
without regard to previous arrangements; 

^t if %ty\ "In order to prevent treachery," says Wang Hsi. The 
general meaning is made clear by Ts'ao Kung's quotation from the 

Ssii-ma Fa: & ^ ft 3jf fjjj ?ft ft *jj[ "Give instructions only on 
sighting the enemy; give rewards only when you see deserving deeds." 
$ff )$, however, presents some difficulty. Ts'ao Kung's paraphrase, 

S&^^JiSftSfl-tft' 1 take to mean: " The final inst c- 
tions you give to your army should not correspond with those that have 
been previously posted up." Chang Yu simplifies this into Jfc ^ J "tf 
"your arrangements should not be divulged beforehand." And Chia Lin 
says: ^ TJ* ^ ^ tffc "there should be no fixity in your rules 
and arrangements." Not only is there danger in letting your plans be 
known, but war often necessitates the entire reversal of them at the last 

and you will be able to handle a whole army 

:J[f , according to Ts'ao Kung, is here equal to J^j . The exact meaning 
is brought out more clearly in the next paragraph. 

as though you had to do with but a single man. 
Cf. supra, 34. 

57. Confront your soldiers with the deed itself; never 
let them know your design. 

Literally, "do not tell them words;" i.e. do not give your reasons for any 
order. Lord Mansfield once told a junior colleague to "give no reasons" 
for his decisions, and the maxim is even more applicable to a general 
than to a judge. Capt. Calthrop translates this sentence with beautiful 
simplicity: "Orders should direct the soldiers." That is all. 

When the outlook is bright, bring it before their eyes; 
but tell them nothing when the situation is gloomy. 

58. Place your army in deadly peril, and it will survive; 
plunge it into desperate straits, and it will come off in safety . 

Compare the paradoxical saying "f^^^ 
2J . These words of Sun Tzu were once quoted by Han Hsin in ex- 
planation of the tactics he employed in one of his most brilliant battles, 
already alluded to on p. 28. In 204 B.C., he was sent against the army 
of Chao, and halted ten miles from the mouth of the ^ [Iffi Ching- 
hsing pass, where the enemy had mustered in full force. Here, at midnight, 
he detached a body of 2000 light cavalry, every man of which was furnished 


with a red flag. Their instructions were to make their way through nar- 
row defiles and keep a secret watch on the enemy. "When the men of 
Chao see me in full flight," Han Hsin said, "they will abandon their forti- 
fications and give chase. This must be the sign for you to rush in, pluck 
down the Chao standards and set up the red banners of j^| Han in their 
stead." Turning then to his other officers, he remarked: "Our adversary 
holds a strong position, and is not likely to come out and attack us until 
he sees the standard and drums of the commander-in-chief, for fear I 
should turn back and escape through the mountains." So saying, he first 
of all sent out a division consisting of 10,000 men, and ordered them to 
form in line of battle with their backs to the River yj Ti. Seeing this 
manoeuvre, the whole army of Chao broke into loud laughter. By this 
time it was broad daylight, and Han Hsin, displaying the generalissimo's 
flag, marched out of the pass with drums beating, and was immediately 
engaged by the enemy. A great battle followed, lasting for some time; 
until at length Han Hsin and his colleague EM iEC Chang Ni, leaving 
drums and banner on the field, fled to the division on the river bank, 
where another fierce battle was raging. The enemy rushed out to pursue 
them and to secure the trophies, thus denuding their ramparts of men; 
but the two generals succeeded in joining the other army, which was 
fighting with the utmost desperation. The time had now come for the 
2000 horsemen to play their part. As soon as they saw the men of 
Chao following up their advantage, they galloped behind the deserted 
walls, tore up the enemy's flags and replaced them by those of Han. 
When the Chao army turned back from the pursuit, the sight of these 
red flags struck them with terror. Convinced that the Hans had got in 
and overpowered their king, they broke up in wild disorder, every effort 
of their leader to stay the panic being in vain. Then the Han army fell 
on them from both sides and completed the rout, killing a great number 
and capturing the rest, amongst whom was King jjfc Ya himself .... 
After the battle, some of Han Hsin's officers came to him and said: "In 
the Art of War we are told to have a hill or tumulus on the right rear, 
and a river or marsh on the left front. [This appears to be a blend of 
Sun Tzu and T'ai Kung. See IX. 9, and note.] You, on the con- 
trary, ordered us to draw up our troops with the river at our back. Under 
these conditions, how did you manage to gain the victory?" The general 
replied : "I fear you gentlemen have not studied the Art of War with 
sufficient care. Is it not written there : ' 'Plunge your army into desperate 
straits and it will come off in safety; place it in deadly peril and it will 
survive '? Had I taken the usual course, I should never have been able 
to bring my colleagues round. What says the Military Classic ($g)? 
'Swoop down on the market-place and drive the men off to fight' 
( H* r|j A ffij *$$ ^ ) [This passage does not occur in the present 
text of Sun Tzu.] If I had not placed my troops in a position where 



02. Jtflp 

they were obliged to fight for their lives, but had allowed each man to 
follow his own discretion, there would have been a general debandade, 
and it would have been impossible to do anything with them." The 
officers admitted the force, of his argument, and said : "These are higher 
tactics than we should have been capable of. 5 ' [See CA'ien Hah Shu, 
ch. 34, ff. 4, 5-] 

59. For it is precisely when a force has fallen into 
harm's way that it is capable of striking a blow for victory. 

Danger has a bracing effect. 

60. Success in warfare is gained by carefully accom- 
modating ourselves to the enemy's purpose. 

Ts'ao Kung says : fa: f^ -Jgj "Feign stupidity" by an appearance 
of yielding and falling in with the enemy's wishes. Chan^ Yii's note 
makes the meaning clear : "If the enemy shows an inclination to advance, 
lure him on to do so; if he is anxious to retreat, delay on purpose that 
he may carry out his intention." The object is to make him remiss and 
contemptuous before we deliver our attack. 

61. By persistently hanging on the enemy's flank, 

I understand the first four words to mean "accompanying the enemy 
in one direction." Ts'ao Kung says: ^ -& [S] ]^ "unite the soldiers 
and make for the enemy." But such a violent displacement of characters 
is quite indefensible. Mei Yao-ch'en is the only commentator who seems 
to have grasped the meaning : [^ || |Sj jffi ^ ^ ^ jj -^ . 
The T'u Shu reads jfc ^J . 

we shall succeed in the -long run 
Literally, "after a thousand /*'." 

in killing the commander-in-chief. 

Always a great point with the Chinese. 

62. This is called ability to accomplish a thing by 
sheer cunning. 


The T'u Shu has ^ g || &j ~fft ffc ^ , and yet another reading, 



mentioned by Ts'ao Kung, is &j jfc jfa ||J . Capt. Calthrop omits 
this sentence, after having thus translated the two preceding: "Discover 
the enemy's intentions by conforming to his movements. When these 
are discovered, then, with one stroke, the general may be killed, even 
though he be one hundred leagues distant." 

63. On the day that you take up your command, 

]fc J& does not mean "when war is declared," as Capt. Calthrop 
says, nor yet exactly, as Ts'ao Kung paraphrases it, gjj! ^j "when your 
plans are fixed," when you have mapped out your campaign. The phrase 
is not given in the P l ei Wen Yun Fu. There being no causal con- 
nection discoverable between this and the preceding sentence, ^ jtjr 
must perforce be left untranslated. 

block the frontier passes, 

| is explained by Mei Yao-ch'en as 

destroy the official tallies, 

The locus classicus for these tallies is Chou Li, XIV. fol. 40 (Imperial 
edition): ff 1 ffl & $ jfc ffl M f* *& fl! Jt ft . 

The generic term thus appears to be ||j} , ^J being the special kind 
used at city-gates and on the frontier. They were tablets of bamboo or 
wood, one half of which was issued as a permit or passport by the official 
in charge of a gate ( fjj f^ or ^ (^ . Cf. the ^ ^ "border-warden" 
of Lun Yu III. 24, who may have had similar duties.) When this half 
was returned to him, within a fixed period, he was authorised to open 
the gate and let the traveller through. 

and stop the passage of all emissaries. 

Either to or from the enemy's country. 
64. Be stern in the council-chamber, 

Show no weakness, and insist on your plans being ratified by the sovereign. 
Igfi jiB indicates a hall or temple in the Palace. Cf. I. 26. It is not 

/xii /^yj y 

clear if other officers would be present. Hardly anything can be made 
of JJUJ 5 the reading of the standard text, so I have adopted Tu Mu's 
conjecture ^ , which appears in the T l u Shu. 

so that you may control the situation. 


A n m & & A z < 

Ts'ao Kung explains - by yjpj , and Ho Shih by j . Another 
reading is gjj , and Mei Yao-ch'en, adopting this, understands the whole 
sentence to mean: Take the strictest precautions to ensure secrecy in 
your deliberations. Capt. Calthrop glides rather too smoothly over the 
rough places. His translation is : "conduct the business of the govern- 
ment with vigilance." 

65. If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in. 

This looks a very simple sentence, yet Ts'ao Kung is the only com- 
mentator who takes it as I have done. Meng Shih, followed by Mei Yao- 
ch'en and Chang Yii, defines jJB [||j as ^fl ^ "spies," and makes ^ 
an active verb: "If spies come from the enemy, we must quickly let 
them in." But I cannot find that the words ^ |ff] have this meaning 
anywhere else. On the other hand, they may be taken as two verbs, 
flJc IflJ SK M ' ex P ressm g tne enemy's indecision whether to advance 
or retreat, that being the best moment to attack him. [Cf. Tao Te Ching, 

chap. X: ^ PI P| H ^ ^ l ; alsoZ ' ' ft it' Ui ' 2 5-] 
It is not easy to choose between this and Ts'ao Kung's explanation; the 
fact that || ^ ^ Ef occurs shortly afterwards, in 68, might be 
adduced in support of either. jjfa\ must be understood in the sense of 
jgfc or ^ . The only way to avoid this is to put ^ |||j between 
commas and translate: "If we leave a door open, the enemy is sure to 
rush in." 

66. Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, 
Cf. supra, 1 8. 

and subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground. 

Capt. Calthrop hardly attempts to translate this difficult paragraph, but 
invents the following instead: "Discover what he most values, and plan 
to seize it." Ch'en Hao's explanation, however, is clear enough: j 

JJ\ 3| "If I manage to seize a favourable position, but the enemy does 
not appear on the scene, the advantage thus obtained cannot be turned 
to any practical account. He who intends, therefore, to occupy a position 
of importance to the enemy, must begin by making an artful appointment, 




so to speak, with his antagonist, and cajole him into going there as well.' 
Mei Yao-ch'en explains that this "artful appointment" is to be made 
through the medium of the enemy's own spies, who will carry back just 
the amount of information that we choose to give them. Then, having 
cunningly disclosed our intentions, ^j ^ J^ ^jf -fa J^ gj? "we musl 
manage, though starting after the enemy, to arrive before him" (VII. 4), 
We must start after him in order to ensure his marching thither; we 
must arrive before him in order to capture the place without trouble, 
Taken thus, the present passage lends some support to Mei Yao-ch'en's 
interpretation of 47. 

67. Walk in the path defined by rule, 

U! stands for ^| jj| "a marking-line," hence a rule of conduct. See 
Mencius VII. i. xli. 2. Ts'ao Kung explains it by the similar metaphor 
^jj ^g "square and compasses." The baldness of the sentiment rather 
inclines me to favour the reading J||J adopted by Chia Lin in place of 
f^ , which yields an exactly opposite sense, namely : "Discard hard and 
fast rules." Chia Lin says: f )$ fe % \\ ^ pf J* J^ $f g ffij 
^ "Victory is the only thing that matters, and this cannot be achieved 
by adhering to conventional canons." It is unfortunate that this variant 
rests on very slight authority, for the sense yielded is certainly much 
more satisfactory. Napoleon, as we know, according to the veterans of 
the old school whom he defeated, won his battles by violating every ac- 
cepted canon of warfare. 

and accommodate yourself to the enemy until you can 
fight a decisive battle. 

The last four words of the Chinese are omitted by Capt. Calthrop. 
Tu Mu says: |g .j^ A Z J& % % I % 2 ^ W ft fa 
JT^ tfefe "Conform to the enemy's tactics until a favourable opportunity 
offers; then come forth and engage in a battle that shall prove decisive." 

68. At first, then, exhibit the coyness of a maiden, 
until the enemy gives you an opening; afterwards emulate 
the rapidity of a running hare, and it will be too late 
for the enemy to oppose you. 


As the hare is noted for its extreme timidity, the comparison hardly 
appears felicitous. But of course Sun Tzu was thinking only of its speed. 
The words have been taken to mean: You must flee from the enemy as 
quickly as an escaping hare; but this is rightly rejected by Tu Mu. Capt. 
Calthrop is wrong in translating ^ "rabbit." Rabbits are not indigenous 
to China, and were certainly not known there in the 6th century B.C. The 
last sixteen characters evidently form a sort of four-line jingle. Chap. X, 
it may be remembered, closed in similar fashion. 


Rather more than half the chapter ( i 13) is devoted to the subject 
of fire, after which the author branches off into other topics. 

i. Sun Tzu said: There are five ways of attacking 
with fire. The first is to burn soldiers in their camp; 

So Tu Mu. Li Ch'uan says: ^Sf^^lftiZJ*^ "Set 
fire to the camp, and kill the soldiers" (when they try to escape from 
the flames). Pan Ch'ao, sent on a diplomatic mission to the King of 
Shan-shan [see XI. 51, note], found himself placed in extreme peril by 
the unexpected arrival of an envoy from the Hsiung-nu [the mortal enemies 
of the Chinese], in consultation with his officers, he exclaimed : "'Never 
venture, never win ! * The only course open to us now is to make an 
assault by fire on the barbarians under cover of night, when they will 
not be able to discern our numbers. Profiting by their panic, we shall 
exterminate them completely; this will cool the King's courage and cover 
us with glory, besides ensuring the success of our mission.' The officers 
all replied that it would be necessary to discuss the matter first with the 
Intendant ( ^ jtf ). Pan Ch'ao then fell^ into a passion : Mt is to-day,' 
he cried, 'that our fortunes must be decided ! The Intendant is only a 
humdrum civilian, who on hearing of our project will certainly be afraid, 
and everything will be brought to light. An inglorious death is no worthy 
fate for valiant warriors.' All then agreed to do as he wished. Accordingly, 
as soon as night came on, he and his little band quickly made their way 
to the barbarian camp. A strong gale was blowing at the time. Pan 
Ch'ao ordered ten of the party to take drums and hide behind the enemy's 
barracks, it being arranged that when they saw flames shoot up, they 

* yp y^ IS *^* >K ^^ IS -^ "Unless yon enter the tiger's lair, you. 
cannot get hold of the tiger's cubs." 

should begin drumming and yelling with all their might. The rest of his 
men, armed with bows and crossbows, he posted in ambuscade at the 
gate of the camp. He then set fire to the place from the windward side, 
whereupon a deafening noise of drums and shouting arose on the front 
and rear of the Hsiung-nu, who rushed out pell-mell in frantic disorder. 
Pan Ch'ao slew three of them with his own hand, while his companions 
cut off the heads of the envoy and thirty of his suite. The remainder, 
more than a hundred in all, perished in the flames. On the following 
day, Pan Ch'ao went back and informed ^|J ^ Kuo Hsiin [the Intendant] 
of what he had done. The latter was greatly alarmed and turned pale. 
But Pan Ch'ao, divining his thoughts, said with uplifted hand: 'Although 
you did not go with us last night, I should not think, Sir, of taking sole 
credit for our exploit.' This satisfied Kuo Hsun, and Pan Ch'ao, having 
sent for Kuang, King of Shan-shan, showed him the head of the barbarian 
envoy. The whole kingdom was seized with fear and trembling, which 
Pan Ch'ao took steps to allay by issuing a public proclamation. Then, 
taking the king's son as hostage, he returned to make his report to 
W [3| Tou Ku." \Hou Han Shu, ch. 47, if. i, 2.] 

the second is to burn stores; 

Tu Mu says : TJJ ^ "ffi ^ "Provisions, fuel and fodder." In order 
to subdue the rebellious population of Kiangnan, ~fjjj jjpj Kao Keng 
recommended Wen Ti of the Sui dynasty to make periodical raids and 
burn their stores of grain, a policy which in the long run proved entirely 
successful. [Kg f&, ch. 41, fol. 2.] 

the third is to burn baggage- trains; 

An example given is the destruction of ^ j$g Yuan Shao's waggons 
and impedimenta by Ts'ao Ts'ao in 200 A.D. 

the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines; 

Tu Mu says that the things contained in jj^jj and Jjj[ are the same. He 
specifies weapons and other implements, bullion and clothing. Cf. VII. 1 1. 

the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy. 

No fewer than four totally diverse explanations of this sentence are 
given by the commentators, not one of which is quite satisfactory. It is 
obvious, at any rate, that the ordinary meaning of ffi ("regiment" or 
"company") is here inadmissible. In spite of Tu Mu's note, ^ I|L %~J 
t 69 91 ffij ( i l must re S ard "company burning" (Capt. Cal- 
throp's rendering) as nonsense pure and simple. We may also, I think, 
reject the very forced explanation given by Li Ch'iian, Mei Yao-ch'en 

and Chang Yii, of whom the last-tiamed says: Jfe ^ |^ ^ jgl J 
^ wfe Ef "burning a regiment's weapons, so that the soldiers may have 
nothing to fight with." That leaves only two solutions open: one, favoured 
by Chia Lin and Ho Shih, is to take |^ in the somewhat uncommon 
sense of "a road," = ^. The commentary on a passage in the ^ ^ 

"y* ^ ' quoted in K l ang Hsi, defines [^ (read jw/) as ;gt pjl |Jj^ 

K^ sfj "a difficult road leading through a valley." Here it would stand 
for the 7J|| 2f|" "line of supplies," which might be effectually interrupted 
if the country roundabout was laid waste with fire. Finally, the inter- 
pretation which I have adopted is that given by Tu Yu in the T'ung 

Tien. He reads ||| (which is not absolutely necessary, [^ chut being 
sometimes used in the same sense), with the following note : Jj[ 4^ 

" To drop fire ' mto the enem y' s cam P- ' The method 
by which this may be done is to set the tips of arrows alight by dipping 
them into a brazier, and then shoot them from powerful crossbows into 
the enemy's lines." 

2. In order to carry out an attack with fire, we must 
have means available. 

Ts'ao Kung thinks that ^ ^ "traitors in the enemy's camp" are referred 
to. He thus takes [^| as the efficient cause only. But Ch'en Hao is 
more likely to be right in saying: ^l^S^^^^^ ,"We 
must have favourable circumstances in general, not merely traitors to 
help us." Chia Lin says: pjtj.Jjjj^ j)^ "We must avail ourselves of wind 
and dry weather." 

the material for raising fire should always be kept in 

j|g5 ^ is explained by Ts'ao Kung as %& JL "appliances for making 

fire." Tu Mu suggests Xffi^Slf^lh/ft^ll "^ 
vegetable matter, reeds, brushwood, straw, grease, oil, etc." Here we 
have the material cause. Chang Yu says: |^^C^^^^^^/ 
"vessels for hoarding fire, stuff for lighting fires." 

3. There is a proper season for making attacks with 
fire, and special days, for starting a conflagration. 


&Z Hife- 

5 jt -fc # # eg s. 'X z % m m z 

*. ft ft fl'J f- Jfi Z ft ft 

A fire must riot be begun ^^ "recklessly" or jj^ ^^ "at haphazard." 

4. The proper season is when the weather is very dry; 
the special days are those when the moon is in the constel- 
lations of the Sieve, the Wall, the Wing or the Cross-bar ; 

These are, respectively, the yth, 14111, 27th, and 28th of the """*. -p 
y\ ^j* Twenty-eight Stellar Mansions, corresponding roughly to Sagit- 
tarius, Pegasus, Crater and Corvus. The original text, followed by the 
T'u Shu, has J=J in place of tjfij ; the present reading rests on the au- 
thority of the Tung Tien ancl Y &< Lan. ^\\ Mu says: fg ^ ^ ^ 
)^T & iit For ^ M ' both Tlun S Tien and Y & Lan g ive the more 
precise location H/ ^ W ^ . Mei Yao-ch'en tells us that by 4 

^-^ -^ > >^V ifii ^ - 

is meant the tail of the S| Dragon ; by Jffij , the eastern part of that 
constellation ; by ! and , the tail of the Quail. 

for these four are all days of rising wind. 

ft m It * is dKp*l for ^ * llfc PI ?g ^ If II 

Hsiao I (afterwards fourth Emperor of the Liang dynasty, A.D. 552 555) 

is quoted by Tu Yu as saying that the days pj ~f of spring, jj^ g, 
of summer, -jj> X^> of autumn, and ffl j^ of winter bring fierce gales 
of wind and rain. 

5. In attacking with fire, one should be prepared to 
meet five possible developments: 

I take 3 as qualifying ^, not J^, and therefore think that Chang 
Yu is wrong in referring ^ J^ to the five methods of attack set forth 
in i. What follows has certainly nothing to do with these. 

6. (i) When fire breaks out inside the enemy's camp, 
respond at once 

The Yu Lan incorrectly reads 1|f for jjl . 
with an attack from without. 



7. (2) If there is an outbreak of fire, but the enemy's 
soldiers remain quiet, bide your time and do not attack. 

The original text omits ffjj lit . The prime object of attacking with 
fire is to throw the enemy into confusion. If this effect is not produced, 
it means that the enemy is ready to receive us. Hence the necessity 
for caution. 

8. (3) When the force of the flames has reached its 
height, follow it up with an attack, if that is practicable; 
if not, stay where you are. 

Ts'ao Kung says: ~fl ift & $ 1$ tft & " If y u see a P os ' 

sible way, advance; but if you find the difficulties too great, retire." 

9. (4) If it is possible to make an assault with fire 
from without, do not wait for it to break out within, but 
deliver your attack at a favourable moment. 

Tu Mu says that the previous paragraphs had reference to the fire 
breaking out (either accidentally, we may suppose, or by the agency of 
incendiaries) inside the enemy's camp. "But," he continues, Jk jfc 

^ ^E jJC ^ im. "^ ^ e enemv i s settled in a waste place littered 
with quantities of grass, or if he has pitched his camp in a position which 
can be burnt out, we must carry our fire against him at any seasonable 
opportunity, and not wait on in hopes of an outbreak occurring within, 
for fear our opponents should themselves burn up the surrounding vege- 
tation, and thus render our own attempts fruitless." The famous dJ5 ||fe 
Li Ling once baffled the jffi ^ leader of the Hsiung-nu in this way. 
The latter, taking advantage of a favourable wind, tried to set fire to the 
Chinese general's camp, but found that every scrap of combustible vege- 
tation in the neighbourhood had already been burnt down. On the other 
hand, $fc ^ Po-ts'ai, a general of the j| (jj |$ Yellow Turban rebels, 
was badly defeated in 184 A.D. through his neglect of this simple pre- 
caution. "At the head of a large army he was besieging -^ jjff; Ch'ang-she, 
which was held by J|[ ^j ^ Huang-fu Sung. The garrison was very 


11. <Ji, 

12. Jl? 

small, and a general feeling of nervousness pervaded the ranks; so Huang-fu 
Sung called his officers together and said: 'In war, there are various in- 
direct methods of attack, and numbers do not count for everything. [The 
commentator here quotes Sun Tzu, V. 5, 6 and ro.] Now the rebels 
have pitched their camp in the midst of thick grass (^ t=jf jj!j 3jj* ), 
which will easily burn when the wind blows. If we set fire to it at night, 
they will be thrown into a panic, and we can make a sortie and attack 
them on all sides at once, thus emulating the achievement of T'ien Tan.' 
[See p. 90.] That same evening, a strong breeze sprang up; so Huang-fu 
Sung instructed his soldiers to bind reeds together into torches and mount 
guard on the city walls, after which he sent out a band of daring men, 
who stealthily made their way through the lines and started the fire with 
loud shouts and yells. Simultaneously, a glare of light shot up from the 
city- walls, and Huang-fu Sung, sounding his drums, led a rapid charge, 
which threw the rebels into confusion and put them to headlong flight." 
\Hou Han Shu, ch. 71, f. 2 r.] 

io. (5) When you start a fire, be to windward of it. 
Do not attack from the leeward. 

Chang Yii, following Tu Yu, says: ^ *& & 31 Rfi ^ (^ 
^ *& Ifc %& M!| >5 HI ife " wh en you make a fire, the enemy will 
retreat away from it; if you oppose his retreat and attack him then, he 
will fight desperately, which will not conduce to your success." A rather 
more obvious explanation is given by Tu Mu: "If the wind is in the 
east, begin burning to the east of the enemy, and follow up the attack 
yourself from that side. If you start the fire on the east side, and then 
attack from the west, you will suffer in the same way as your enemy." 

1 1 . A wind that rises in the daytime lasts long, but a 
night breeze soon falls. 

Cf. Lao Tzu's saying: ||| Jj^ ^ $ j|J} "A violent wind does not 
last the space of a morning." (Tao T<? Ching, chap. 23.) Mei Yao-ch'en 
and Wang Hsi say: "A day breeze dies down at nightfall, and a night 
breeze at daybreak. This is what happens as a general rule." The 
phenomenon observed may be correct enough, but how this sense is to 
be obtained is not apparent. 

12. In every army, the five developments connected 
with fire must be known, the movements of the stars 
calculated, and a watch kept for the proper days. 


Tu Mu's commentary shows what has -to be supplied in order to make 
sense out of % jfc ^ . He says: ^ ^ g jg f{r ^ ^ 

7J ^ 0^"^T^.^C " We must make calculations as to the paths 
of the stars, and watch for the days on which wind will rise, before 
making our attack with fire." Chang Yu seems to take ^J* in the sense 
of Rjfc: "We must not only know how to assail our opponents with fire, 
but also be on our guard against similar attacks from them." 

13. Hence those who use fire as an aid to the attack 
show intelligence; 

I have not the least hesitation in rejecting the commentators' explanation 
of $J as= $J |. Thus Chang Yii says: $ #ft "Pf J# Jfc $ 

". . . will clearly [i.e. obviously] be able to gain the victory." This is not 
only clumsy in itself, but does not balance ijtji in the next clause. For 
IjjJJ "intelligent," cf. infra, 16, and Lun Yii XII. 6. 

those who use water as an aid to the attack gain an 
accession of strength. 

Capt. Calthrop gives an extraordinary rendering of the paragraph: 
"... if the attack is to be assisted, the fire must be unquenchable. If 
water is to assist the attack, the flood must be overwhelming." 

14. By means of water, an enemy may be intercepted, 
but not robbed of all his belongings. 

Ts-ao Rung's note is: ^ pf Jg % ft 
^ IF!* Tatf HH "^ e can mere ty obstruct the enemy's road or divide his 
army, but not sweep away all his accumulated stores." Water can do 
useful service, but it lacks the terrible destructive power of fire. This is 
the reason, Chang Yii concludes, why the former is dismissed in a couple 
of sentences, whereas the attack by fire is discussed in detail. Wu Tzu 
(ch. 4) speaks thus of the two elements : 

Hi 15 "BIT ^ BB ^ " If an armv i g encamped on low-lying marshy 
ground, from which the water cannot run off, and where the rainfall is 
heavy, it may be submerged by a flood. If an army is encamped in 
wild marsh lands thickly overgrown with weeds and brambles, and visited 
by frequent gales, it may be exterminated by fire." 


15. Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his 
battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the 
spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and 
general stagnation. 

This is one of the most perplexing passages in Sun Tzti. The diffi- 
culty lies mainly in ~jfi jfifa lit ~^J , of which two interpretations appear 
possible. Most of the commentators understand 'jj^ in the sense (not 
known to K l ang Hsi) of ^ "reward" or J^ "promote," and jfc ^ 
as referring to the merit of officers and men. Thus Ts'ao Kung says: 
'H ^ Uf* Jffjj Q "Rewards for good service should not be deferred a 
single day." And Tu Mu : "If you do not take opportunity to advance 
and reward the deserving, your subordinates will not carry out your com- 
mands, and disaster will ensue." -JS? ^ would then probably mean 
& ffiff "Bf %& "stoppage of expenditure," or as Chia Lin puts it, >| flf 
"the grudging of expenditure." For several reasons, however, and in 
spite of the formidable array of scholars on the other side, I prefer the 
interpretation suggested by Mei Yao-ch'en alone, whose words I will quote : 

^ Tii 4 lft % )] ^ |X| ^ "Those who want to make sure of suc- 
ceeding in their battles and assaults must seize the favourable moments 
when they come and not shrink on occasion from heroic measures: that 
is to say, they must resort to such means of attack as fire, water and the 
like. What they must not do, and what will prove fatal, is to sit still 
and simply hold on to the advantages they have got." This retains the 
more usual meaning of ^, and also brings out a clear connection of 
thought with the previous part of the chapter. With regard to Jjjjjf & , 
Wang Hsi paraphrases it as Wjf j^ ^jir (Jjjj "expending treasure and 

tiring out [///., ageing] the army." ^ of course is expenditure or waste 
in general, either of time, money or strength. But the soldier is less 
concerned with the saving of money than of time. For the metaphor 
expressed in "stagnation" I am indebted to Ts'ao Kung, who says: ^ 
^K ^ @ ~Jfi ^ji 3 "til Capt. Calthrop gives a rendering which 
bears but little relation to the Chinese text: "unless victory or possession 
be obtained, the enemy quickly recovers, and misfortunes arise. The 
war drags on, and money is spent." 

1 6. Hence the saying: The enlightened ruler lays his 
plans well ahead-, the good general cultivates his resnnrres. 


is. & ^ ftf ff5 Sft ^ ^ fU R5 It 

As S\m Tzu quotes this jingle in support of his assertion in 15, we 
must suppose ^ to stand for ^~^L~Sft or something analogous. 
The meaning seems to be that the ruler lays plans which the general 
must show resourcefulness in carrying out. It is now plainer than ever 
that YJ& cannot mean "to reward." Nevertheless, Tu Mu quotes the 
following from the = B&> ch - 2: ft ^ $J 1% ft $ M 

m M & ^ W K a IH * ffl tfr 

"The warlike prince controls his soldiers by his authority, knits them 
together by good faith, and by rewards makes them serviceable. If faith 
decays, there will be disruption; if rewards are deficient, commands will 
not be respected." 

17. Move not unless you see an advantage-, 

^E the Yu Lan's variant for "jjjjj , is adopted by Li Ch'iian and 
Tu Mu. 

use not your troops unless there is something to be gained ; 
fight not unless the position is critical. 

Sun Tzu may at times appear to be over-cautious, but he never goes 
so far in that direction as the remarkable passage in the Tao T Ching. 

ch. 6 9: ^ * # i tfij^g^tfcJt^flnilM 

"I dare not take the initiative, but prefer to act on the defensive; I dare 
not advance an inch, but prefer to retreat a foot." 

18. No ruler should put troops into the field merely 
to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle 
simply out of pique. 

Again compare Lao Tzu, ch. 68 : || j| =jg jfi jjg . Chang Yu says 
that |j|jj is a weaker word than jfeC , and is therefore applied to the general 
as opposed to the sovereign. The T'ung Tien and Yu Lan read jg 
for $16 > and the la tter ^ for gjr . 

19. If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; 
if not, stay where you are. 

This is repeated from XI. 17. Here I feel convinced that it is an 
interpolation, for it is evident that 20 ought to follow immediately on 



1 8. For , the Tung Tien and F# Z0 have ^ . Capt. Calthrop 
invents a sentence which he inserts before this one: "Do not make war 
unless victory may be gained thereby." While he was about it, he might 
have credited Sun Tzti with something slightly less inane. 

20. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation 
may be succeeded by content. 

According to Chang Yii, jj, denotes joy outwardly manifested in the 
countenance, *|*j^ the inward sensation of happiness. 

21. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can 
never come again into being; 

The Wu State was destined to be a melancholy example of this saying. 
See p. 50. 

nor can the dead ever be brought back to life. 

22. Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the 
good general full of caution. 

l|&, which usually means "to warn," is. here equal to 3ji . This is a 

fc3 y tArf 

good instance of how Chinese characters, which stand for ideas, refuse 
to be fettered by dictionary-made definitions. The T'u Shu reads ^ Q , 
as in 16. 

This is the way to keep a country at peace and an 
army intact. 

It is odd that >jfc jlf should not have the same meaning here as in 
III. i, q. v. This has led me to consider whether it might not be pos- 
sible to take the earlier passage thus: "to preserve your own army (country, 
regiment, etc.) intact is better than to destroy the enemy's." The two 
words do not appear in the T l ung Tien or the Yu Lan. Capt. Calthrop 
misses the point by translating: "then is the state secure, and the army 
victorious in battle." 

1> ^j*^ ' *** v*i. ' 

- . - o ; , ;J - ^.,HT * 



is really a vulgar form of |j|j , and floes not appear in, the^ Shuo 
In practice, however, it has gradually become a distinct character 
with special meanings of its own, and I have therefore followed my 
edition of the standard text in retaining this form throughout the chapter. 
In VI. 25, on the other hand, the correct form |JJ] will be found. 
The evolution of the meaning "spy" is wprth considering for a moment, 
provided it be understood that this is very cjoubtful ground, and that any 
dogmatism is out of place. The Shuo' Wn defines [Jf] as |5j| (the old 
form of jjjj^) "a crack" or "chink," and on the whole we may accept 
^ ^g- Hsu Ch'ieh's analysis as not unduly fanciful : -^ Pj ^ ^ 

^fJB^^Tfeft^liPlifc " At ni ht ' a door is sh "^ if ' 

when it is shut, the light of the moon is visible, it must come through a 
chink" From this it is an easy step to the meaning "space between," 
or simply "between," as for example in the phrase : ^jj ffl] !| " to 
act as a secret spy between enemies." Here ffi is the word which means 


"spy;" but we may suppose that constant association so affected the 
original force of |gj , that ^ could at last be dropped altogether, leaving 
U|] to stand alone with the same signification. Another possible theory 
is that the word may first have come to mean jsjjj "to peep" (see -jf^ jj|| , 
quoted in frang Hsi), which would naturally be suggested by "crack" or 
"crevice," and afterwards the man who peeps, or spy. 

i. Sun Tzu said: Raising a host of a hundred thousand 
men and marching- them great distances entails heavy loss 
on the people and a drain on the resources of the State. 
The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces 
of silver. 

Cf. II. i, 13, 14. 

There will be commotion at home and abroad, and men 
will drop down exhausted on the highways. 

J J St $& ' which is omitted b y the Yti Lan , appears at first sight 
to be explained by the words immediately following, so that the obvious 
translation would be "(enforced) idleness along the line of march." [Cf. 
Too Te Ching, ch. 30: gjfj %, W( & ffl $$ ^fe H " Where tro P s 
have been quartered, brambles and thorns spring up."] The commentators, 
however, say that Jt is here equivalent to |g? a meaning which is 
still retained in the phrase ^ Jg^ . Tu Mu refers Jg^ to those who are 
engaged in conveying provisions to the army. But this can hardly be 
said to emerge clearly from Sun Tzti's text. Chang Yii has the note: 
"We may be reminded of the saying : 'On serious ground, gather in plunder' 
[XI. 13]. Why then should carriage and transportation cause exhaustion 
on the highways? The answer is, that not victuals alone, but all sorts 
of munitions of war have lo be conveyed to the army. Besides, the in- 
junction to 'forage on the enemy' only means that when an army is 
deeply engaged in hostile territory, scarcity of food must be provided 
against. Hence, without being solely dependent on the enemy for corn, 
we must forage in order that there may be an uninterrupted flow of sup- 
plies. Then, again, there are places like salt deserts (5j| [^ ^ ^tfa) 
where provisions being unobtainable, supplies from home cannot be 
dispensed with." 

As many as seven hundred thousand families will be 
impeded in their labour. 

Mei Yao-ch'en says; | J^ ^ 3JR " Men w ^ be lacking at the 
plough-tail." The allusion is to ^ |jj the system of dividing land into 
nine parts, as shown in the character ^ , each consisting of a -^ or 
fc|| (about 15 acres), the plot in the centre being cultivated on behalf 
of the State by the tenants of the other eight. It was here also, so Tu 
Mu tells us, that their cottages were built and a well sunk, to be used 
by all in common. [See II. 12, note.] These groups of eight peasant 
proprietors were called |SK I n ti me of war > one f tne f am ilies had to 
serve in the army, while the other seven contributed to its support 

( ' ?? 4& $ -fc ^ ^ 2)' Thus> by a levy f I00 ' 000 men 
(reckoning one able-bodied soldier to each family) the husbandry of 
700,000 families would be affected. 

2. Hostile armies may face each other for years, striving 

I 62 

for the victory which is decided in a single day. This 
being so, to remain in ignorance of the enemy's condition 
simply because one grudges the outlay of a hundred ounces 
of silver in honours and emoluments, 

"For spies" is of course the meaning, though it would spoil the ettect 
of this curiously elaborate exordium if spies were actually mentioned at 
this point. 

is the height of inhumanity. 

Sun Tzti's argument is certainly ingenious. He begins by adverting to 
the frightful misery and vast expenditure of blood and treasure which 
war always brings in its train. Now, unless you are kept informed of 
the enemy's condition, and are ready to strike at the right moment, a 
war may drag on for years. The only way to get this information is to 
employ spies, and it is impossible to obtain trustworthy spies unless they 
are properly paid for their services. But it is surely false economy to 
grudge a comparatively trifling amount for this purpose, when every day 
that the war lasts eats up an incalculably greater sum. This grievous 
burden falls on the shoulders of the poor, and hence Sun Tzu concludes 
that to neglect the use of spies is nothing less than a crime against 

3. One who acts thus is no leader of men, no present 
help to his sovereign, 

An inferior reading for ^ is fc , thus explained by Mei Yao-ch'en : 

no master of victory. 

This idea, that the true object of war is peace, has its root in the na- 
tional temperament of the Chinese. Even so far back as 597 B.C., these 
memorable words were uttered by Prince tj Chuang of the Ch'u State : 

Bt 41" ifc " The chara cter for 'prowess' (jj) is made 
up of jj- 'to stay' and ^ 'a spear' (cessation of hostilities). Military 
prowess is seen in the repression of cruelty, the calling in of weapons, 
the preservation of the appointment of Heaven, the firm establishment of 
merit, the bestowal of happiness on the people, putting harmony between 
the princes, the diffusion of wealth." [Tso Chuan, *g ^ XII. 3 ad Jin.} 

ft BE 

e. # Jl* ** A * 2 IS *& 

4. Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good 
general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond 

the reach of ordinary men, is foreknowledge. ^Lfchsinw^ 

That is, knowledge of the enemy's dispositions, and what he means to do. ( 

5 . Now this foreknowledge cannot be elicited from spirits , 

Jt SI JnE "ky P ra yers or sacrifices," says Chang Yu. J^ are the 
disembodied spirits of men, and jjjjjj supernatural beings or "gods." 

it cannot be obtained inductively from experience, 

Tu Mu's note makes the meaning clear: ^j|, he says, is the same as 
reasoning by analogy; "SaflLJtJRrffiSfc "[ know ' 

ledge of the enemy] cannot be gained by reasoning from other analog- 
ous cases." 

nor by any deductive calculation. 

Li Ch'iian says : ^ -g g p] ffi $jj[ jj /J\ ^ P "Pf ,|^ ^ 
1^ J^liA^1 1 W^>S^il^ J 'tfc "Quantities like 

breadth, distance and magnitude, are susceptible of exact mathematical 
determination; human actions cannot be so calculated." 

6. Knowledge of the enemy's dispositions can only be 
obtained from other men. 

Mei Yao-ch'en has rather an interesting note: J^ jjjty ^ ff| Iff J^j[ 


ledge of the spirit- world is to be obtained by divination; information in 
natural science may be sought by inductive reasoning ; the laws of the 
universe can be verified by mathematical calculation : but the dispositions 
of an enemy are ascertainable through spies and spies alone." 


7. Hence the use of spies, of whom there are five 
classes: (i) Local spies; (2) inward spies; (3) converted 
.spies; (4) doomed spies; (5) surviving spies. 

8. When these five kinds of spy are all at work, none 
can discover the secret system. 

g is explained by Tu Mu as 3t ff| fifr ^ ff ^ "the way 
in which facts leak out and dispositions are revealed." 

This is called 

'Jjft is the reading of the standard text, but the Tung Tien, Yu Lan 
and Tu Shu all have ||} . 

"divine manipulation of the threads." 

Capt. Calthrop translates jjjjjj ^ " tne Mysterious Thread," but Mei 

Yao-ch'en's paraphrase ^j(jj j$ ^ Jjj|jjjj ^j* shows that what is meant is 
the control of a number of threads. 

It is the sovereign's most precious faculty. 

4 Cromwell, one of the greatest and most practical of all cavalry leaders, 
had officers styled 'scout masters,' whose business it was to collect all 
possible information regarding the enemy, through scouts and spies, etc., 
and much of his success in war was traceable to the previous knowledge 
of the enemy's moves thus gained." * 

9. Having local spies 

^P|5 Rlj i g ^ e emen ded reading of Chia Lin and the Tu Shu for the 
unintelligible jjj PJJ , here and in 7, of the standard text, which never- 

theless reads ^|K Rfl in ^ 22. 

means employing the services of the inhabitants of a district. 

Tu Mu says: "In the enemy's country, win people over by kind treat- 
ment, and use them as spies." 

* "Aids to Scouting," p. 2. 

10. Having inward spies, making use of officials of 
the enemy. 

^!f includes both civil and military officials. Tu Mu enumerates the 
following classes as likely to do good service in this respect: "Worthy 
men who have been degraded from office, criminals who have undergone 
punishment; also, favourite concubines who are greedy for gold, men 
who are aggrieved at being in subordinate positions, or who have been 
passed over in the distribution of posts, others who are anxious that their 
side should be defeated in order that they may have a chance of displaying 
their ability and talents, fickle turncoats who always want to have a foot 

in each boat (jjj$ g ^ ^ ^ pg ^ & % ) Offici als 
of these several kinds," he continues, "should be secretly approached and 
bound to one's interests by means of rich presents. In this way you will 
be able to find out the state of affairs in the enemy's country, ascertain 
the plans that are being formed against you, and moreover disturb the 
harmony and create a breach between the sovereign and his ministers." 
The necessity for extreme caution, however, in dealing with "inward 
spies," appears from an historical incident related by Ho Shih: "j|S l8f 
Lo Shang, Governor of ^ ^| I-chou, sent his general [^ >fj Wei Po 

to attack the rebel ^ $j| Li Hsiung of -J Shu in his stronghold at 
fjiJJ P'i. After each side had experienced a number of victories and 
defeats, Li Hsiung had recourse to the services of a certain ^\ jfig P'o- 
t'ai, a native of jj ^ Wu-tu. He began by having him whipped until 
the blood came, and then sent him off to Lo Shang, whom he was to 
delude by offering to co-operate with him from inside the city, and to 
give a fire signal at the right moment for making a general assault. Lo 
Shang, confiding in these promises, marched out all his best troops, and 
placed Wei Po and others at their head with orders to attack at P'o-t'ai's 

bidding. Meanwhile, Li Hsiung's general, ^ ^ Li Hsiang, had prepared 

an ambuscade on their line of march; and P'o-t'ai, having reared long 
scaling-ladders against the city walls, now lighted the beacon-fire. Wei 
Po's men raced up on seeing the signal and [began climbing the ladders 
as fast as they could, while others were drawn up by ropes lowered from 
above. More than a hundred of Lo Shang's soldiers entered the city in 
this way, every one of whom was forthwith beheaded. Li Hsiung then 
charged with all his forces, both inside and outside the city, and routed 
the enemy completely." [This happened in 303 A.D. I do not know 
where Ho Shih got the story from. It is not given in the biography of 
Li Hsiung or that of his father 'Li T'e, Chin Shu, ch. 120, 121.] 

1 66 

ir. Having converted spies, getting hold of the enemy's 
spies and using them for our own purposes. 

By means of heavy bribes and liberal promises detaching them from 
the enemy's service, and inducing them to carry back false information 
as well as to spy in turn on their own countrymen. Thus Tu Yu: 

On the other hand > 

JJ gjj? Hsiao Shih-hsien in denning the ^ ^j] says that we pretend 
not to have detected him, but contrive to let him carry away a false 
impression of what is going on ( j| $J \ % fj| ^ J f^ ^ fl 
B5 7T* i5>l Ift ^ ) Several of the commentators accept this as an 
alternative definition ; but that it is not what Sun Tzu meant is conclusively 
proved by his subsequent remarks about treating the converted spy generously 
(21 sqg.\ Ho Shih notes three occasions on which converted spies were 
used with conspicuous success : i) by T'ien Tan in his defence of Chi- 
mo (see supra, p. 90); 2) by Chao She on his march to O-yii (see p. 57); 

and by the wily ^jj $|| Fan Chii in 260 B.C., when Lien P'o was con- 

ducting a defensive campaign against Ch'in. The King of Chao strongly 
disapproved of Lien P'o's cautious and dilatory methods, which had been 
unable to avert a series of minor disasters, and therefore lent a ready 
ear to the reports of his spies, who had secretly gone over to the enemy 
and were already in Fan Chii's pay. They said: "The only thing which 

causes Ch'in anxiety is lest jjjjj^ j^ Chao Kua should be made general. 

Lien P'o they consider an easy opponent, who is sure to be vanquished 
in the long run." Now this Chao Kua was a son of the famous Chao 
She. From his boyhood, he had been wholly engrossed in the study of 
war and military matters, until at last he came to believe that there was 
no commander in the whole Empire who could stand against him. His 
father was much disquieted by this overweening conceit, and the flippancy 
with which he spoke of such a serious thing as war, and solemnly declared 
that if ever Kua was appointed general, he would bring ruin on the armies 
of Chao, This was the man who, in spite of earnest protests from his 
own mother and the veteran statesman j||j ^ig $ff Lin Hsiang-ju, was 
now sent to succeed Lien P'o. Needless to say, he proved no match for 
the redoubtable Po Ch'i and the great military power of Ch'in. He fell 
into a trap by which his army was divided into two and his communi- 
cations cut; and after a desperate resistance lasting 46 days, during which 
the famished soldiers devoured one another, he was himself killed by an 
arrow, and his whole force, amounting, it is said, to 400,000 men, ruthlessly 
put to the sword. [See ^ j^ |g ^ ^ g|, ch. 19, ff. 4850]. 

i6 7 

a * 

12. Having doomed spies, doing certain things openly 
for purposes of deception, and allowing our own spies to 
know of them and report them to the enemy. 

^ is Li Ch'iian's conjecture for 3 , which is found in the T'ung Tien 
and the Yu Lan. The T l u S/iu, unsupported by any good authority, 
adds ffl -fy after &. In that case, the doomed spies would be those 
of the enemy, to whom our own spies had conveyed false information. 
But this is unnecessarily complicated. Tu Yu gives the best exposition 
of the meaning: "We ostentatiously do things calculated to deceive our 
own spies, who must be led to believe that they have been unwittingly 
disclosed. Then, when these spies are captured in the enemy's lines, they 
will make an entirely false report, and the enemy will take measures ac- 
cordingly, only to find that we do something quite different. The spies 
will thereupon be put to death." Capt. Calthrop makes a hopeless muddle 
of the sentence. As an example of doomed spies, Ho Shih mentions the 
prisoners released by Pan Ch'ao in his campaign against Yarkand. (See 
p. 132.) He also refers to ^ ^ T'ang Chien, who in 630 A.D. was 
sent by T'ai Tsung to lull the Turkish Khan | TJcjJ Chieh-li into fancied 
security, until Li Ching was able to deliver a crushing blow against him. 
Chang Yu says that the Turks revenged themselves by killing T'ang Chien, 
but this is a mistake, for we read in both the Old and the New T'ang 
History (ch. 58, fol. 2 and ch. 89, fol. 8 respectively) that he escaped and 
lived on until 656. J|$ ^ l|t Li I-chi* played a somewhat similar 
part in 203 B.C., when sent by the King of Han to open peaceful negoti- 
ations with Ch'i. He has certainly more claim to be described as a ^ Rjj ; 
for the King of Ch'i, being subsequently attacked without warning by 
Han Hsin, and infuriated by what he considered the treachery of Li I-chi, 
ordered the unfortunate envoy to be boiled alive. 

13. Surviving spies, finally, are those who bring back 
news from the enemy's camp. 

This is the ordinary class of spies, properly so called, forming a regular 
part of the army. Tu Mu says: ^ Rjj ^ fa ^( jXj tyj #\> ^ 

jib " Your surviving spy must be a man of keen intellect, though 
* Cfrien Han Shu, ch. 43, fol. i. ^ gj|j "jjf Yen Shih-ku in loc. says: j 

1 68 

in outward appearance a fool; of shabby exterior, but with a will of iron. 
He must be active, robust, endowed with physical strength and courage; 
thoroughly accustomed to all sorts of dirty work, able to endure hunger 
and cold, and to put up with shame and ignominy." Ho Shih tells the fol- 
lowing story of ^ ^| jj Ta-hsi Wu of the Sui dynasty : "When he was 
governor of Eastern Ch'in, jjj||j jj Shen-wu of Ch'i made a hostile 
movement upon ffi ~fifa Sha-yuan. The Emperor T'ai Tsu [? Kao Tsu] 
sent Ta-hsi Wu to spy upon the enemy. He was accompained by two 
other men. All three were on horseback and wore the enemy's uniform. 
When it was dark, they dismounted a few hundred feet away from the 
enemy's camp and stealthily crept up to listen, until they succeeded in 
catching the passwords used by the army. Then they got on their horses 
again and boldly passed through the camp under the guise of night- 
watchmen ( 30& ^ ^ ) ; and more than once, happening to come across 
a soldier who was committing some breach of discipline, they actually 
stopped to give the culprit a sound cudgelling ! Thus they managed to 
return with the fullest possible information about the enemy's dispositions, 
and received warm commendation from the Emperor, who in consequence 
of their report was able to inflict a severe defeat on his adversary." With 
the above classification it is interesting to compare the remarks of Frederick 
the Great:* "Es giebt vielerley Sorten von Spions: i. Geringe Leute, 
welche sich von diesem Handwerk meliren. 2. Doppelte Spions. 3. Spions 
von Consequenz, und endlich 4. Diejenigen, welche man zu diesem 
unglucklichen Hankwerk zwinget." This of course is a bad cross-division. 
The first class ("Biirgersleute, Bauern, Priesters, etc.") corresponds roughly 
to Sun Tzu's "local spies," and the third to "inward spies." Of "Doppelte 
Spions" it is broadly stated that they are employed "um dem Feinde 
falsche Nachrichten aufzubinden." Thus they would include both con- 
verted and doomed spies. Frederick's last class of spies does not appear 
in Sun Tzu's list, perhaps because the risk in using them is too great. 

14. Hence it is that with none in the whole army are 
more intimate relations to be maintained than with spies. 

The original text and the T'u Shu have |Jj in place of the first ^ . 
Tu Mu and Mei Yao-ch'en point out that the spy is privileged to enter 
even the general's private sleeping-tent. Capt. Calthrop has an inaccurate 
translation: "In connection with the armies, spies should be treated with 
the greatest kindness." 

"Umerricht des Konigs von Preussen an die Generate seiner Armeen," cap. 12 
(edition of 1794). 


None should be more liberally rewarded. 

Frederick concludes his chapter on spies with the words: "Zu allem 
diesem fiige ich noch hinzu, dass man in Bezahlung der Spions freygebig, 
ja verschwenderisch seyn muss. Ein Mench, der um cures Dienstes halber 
den Strick waget, verdienet dafiir belohnet zti werden." 

In no other business should greater secrecy be preserved. 
Tu Mu gives a graphic touch : {f| p ^ Jf ^ , that is to say, all 

communications with spies should be carried on "mouth-to-ear." Capt. 
Calthrop has: "All matters relating to spies are secret," which is distinctly 
feeble. An interior reading for t&& is ;gp . The following remarks on 
spies may be quoted from Turenne, who made perhaps larger use of them 
than any previous commander: "Spies are attached to those who give 
them most, he who pays them ill is never served. They should never be 
known to anybody; nor should they know one another. When they 
propose anything very material, secure their persons, or have in your 
possession their wives and children as hostages for their fidelity. Never 
communicate anything to them but what it is absolutely necessary that 
they should know." * 

15. Spies cannot be usefully employed 
This is the nuance of Tu Yu's paraphrase ^ 
without a certain intuitive sagacity. 

Mei Yao-ch'en says: & ft ft $ ^ j g|J fa $ 

"In order to use them, one must know fact from falsehood, and be able 
to discriminate between honesty and double-dealing." Wang Hsi takes 
Bg and ^ separately, denning the former as j|| jfjj ^Q ^ "intuitive 
perception" and the latter as HH "fc^ jif. "practical intelligence." Tu 

Mu strangely refers these attributes to the spies themselves : -yfa j|f ^Jj 

HiZ&M^^^B&vlftZ " Before usi "g s i> ies we 

must assure ourselves as to their integrity of character and the extent of 
their experience and skill." But he continues: J|[ ^ '$? '|f| |J^ ^ 
Uj JH ^ IE A ^ Hi 9& " A brazen face and a crafty disposition 
are more dangerous than mountains or rivers; it takes a man of genius 
to penetrate such." So that we are left in some doubt as to his real 
opinion on the passage. 

* "Marshal Turenne," p. 311. 



is. ftft * ft* ft 7 )B B ft 

1 6. They cannot be properly managed without bene- 
volence and straightforwardness. 

Chang Yii says that ^ means "not grudging them honours and pay;" 
^g , "showing no distrust of their honesty." "When you have attracted 
them by substantial offers, you must treat them with absolute sincerity; 
then they will work for you with all their might." 

17. Without subtle ingenuity of mind, one cannot make 
certain of the truth of their reports. 

Mei Yao-ch'en says: "Be on your guard against the possibility of spies 
going over to the service of the enemy." The T l ung Tien and Yu Lan 
read gj& for ^?, 

1 8. Be subtle! be subtle! 

Cf. VI. 9: fjfjj; 5p. ;j| 3J1. Capt. Calthrop translates: "Wonderful 
indeed is the power of spies." 

and use your spies for every kind of business. 

19. If a secret piece of news is divulged by a spy 
before the time is ripe, he must be put to death together 
with the man to whom the secret was told. 

The Chinese here is so concise and elliptical that some expansion is 
necessary for the proper understanding of it. ^ ijjf. denotes important 
information about the enemy obtained from a surviving spy. The sub- 
ject of -jff ^, however, is not this information itself, but the secret 
stratagem built up on the strength of it. ^ ^ means "is heard" 
by anybody else. Thus, word for word, we get: "If spy matters are 
heard before [our plans] are carried out," etc. Capt. Calthrop, in trans- 
lating ^ Jjjl ffi &f ^ "the spy who told the matter, and the man 
who repeated the same," may appeal to the authority of the commen- 
tators; but he surely misses the main point of Sun Tzu's injunction. 
For, whereas you kill the spy himself S& J^ jfjjf- "as a punishment for 
letting out the secret," the object of killing the other man is only, as 
Ch'en Hao puts it, JJ p "to stop his mouth" and prevent the 


9 it & ft it 

news leaking any further. If it had already been repeated to others, this 
object would not be gained. Either way, Sun Tzu lays himself open to 
the charge of inhumanity, though Tu Mu tries to defend him by saying 
that the man deserves to be put to death, for the spy would certainly 
not have told the secret unless the other had been at pains to worm 
it out of him. The T'ung Tien and Yii Lan have the reading . . . 

4r ^ it fM ^ fi , etc., which, while not affecting the sense, strikes 
me as being better than that of the standard text. The Tu Shu has ... 

|^j ffi ffi - ^ , which I suppose would mean : "the man who heard 
the secret and the man who told it to him." 

20. Whether the object be to crush an army, to storm 
a city, or_ to assassinate an individual, it is always neces- 
sary to begin by finding out the names of the attendants, 

-fc ~jb+ is a comprehensive term for those who wait on others, ser- 
vants and retainers generally. Capt. Calthrop is hardly happy in rendering 
it "right-hand men." 

the aides-de-camp, 

IfJI =f , literally "visitors," is equivalent, as Tu Yu says, to :j: ^ 
]j! ^j "those whose duty it is to keep the general supplied with infor- 
mation," which naturally necessitates frequent interviews with him. Chang 
Yii goes too far afield for an explanation in saying that they are J& ^pf 
?Sr ^ s$ " tne lea( ^ ers of mercenary troops.". 
the door-keepers and sentries 

HfJII and <?& A- 
of the general in command. 

TJ* $$> according to Chang Yu, is simply ^f* ^ Q ffiJc ^ $ 

"a general on active service." Capt. Calthrop is wrong, I think, in making 
j* $ directly dependent on ^ ^g (. . . "the names of the general 
in charge," etc.). 
Our spies must be commissioned to ascertain these. 

As the first step, no doubt, towards finding out if any of these important 
functionaries can be won over by bribery. Capt. Calthrop blunders badly 
with: "Then set the spies to watch them." 



24. ; 

21. The enemy's spies who have come to spy on us 
must be sought out, 

jj\ ^^ is omitted by the T l ung Tien and Yii Lan. Its recurrence is 
certainly suspicious, though the sense may seem to gain by it. The T l u 
Shu has this variation: ... " etc. 

tempted with bribes, led away and comfortably housed. 

^ is probably more than merely Jj| j or ;3p|| ^ "detain." Cf. 25 
ad fin., where Sun Tzu insists that these converted spies shall be treated 
well. Chang Yii's paraphrase is Bg -^g- . 

Thus they will become converted spies and available for 
cur service. 

22. It is through the information brought by the con- 
verted spy that we are able to acquire and employ local 
and inward spies. 

Tu Yu expands @ Jf [ft ft into @ ^ gjjr f^ fffi ^J 

]^ jp| "through conversion of the enemy's spies we learn the enemy's 
condition." And Chang Yii says: ^% & %. ffl %H $.M X Z, 

^ *fl * W A 2 # SK * if ffij " We must tem p l the 

converted spy into our service, because it is he that knows which of the 
local inhabitants are greedy of gain, and which of the officials are open 
to corruption." In the Fung Tien, ^Jj has been altered to |g| , doubtless 
for the sake of uniformity with 9. 

23. It is owing to his information, again, that we can 
cause the doomed spy to carry false tidings to the enemy. 

"Because the converted spy knows how the enemy can best be deceived" 
(Chang Yu). The T'ung Tien text, followed by the Yu Lan, has here 
the obviously interpolated sentence ^ ^ "Sf ^ fffl ^ -^ . 

24. Lastly, it is by his information that the surviving 
spy can be used on appointed occasions. 

Capt. Calthrop omits this sentence. 


25. The end and aim of spying in all its five varieties 
is knowledge of the enemy, 

I have ventured to differ in this place from those commentators Tu 
Yu and Chang Yu who understand ij: as ^ :jr, and make 3^ 
^jj ^ Iff, the antecedent of (the others ignoring the point altogether). 
It is plausible enough that Sun Tzu should require the ruler to be familiar 
with the methods of spying (though one would rather expect iteC "general" 
in place of JT). But this involves taking ^JJ ^ here in quite a dif- 
ferent way from the ^Jfl ^ immediately following, as also from those 

in the previous sentences. ^ there refers vaguely to the enemy or the 
enemy's condition, and in order to retain the same meaning here, I make 
ij: a verb, governed by 3L R!j iff- Cf. XI. 19, where IJT is 
used in exactly the same manner. The sole objection that I can see in 
the way of this interpretation is the fact that the 7fa ^f] , or fourth 
variety of spy, does not add to our knowledge of the enemy, but only 
misinforms the enemy about us. This would be, however, but a trivial 
oversight on Sun Tzti's part, inasmuch as the "doomed spy" is in the 
strictest sense not to be reckoned as a spy at all. Capt. Calthrop, it is 
hardly necessary to remark, slurs over the whole difficulty. 

and this knowledge can only be derived, in the first in- 
stance, from the converted spy. 

As explained in 22 24. He not only brings information himself, 
but makes it possible to use the other kinds of spy to advantage. 

Hence it is essential that the converted spy be treated 
with the utmost liberality. 

26. Of old, the rise of the Yin dynasty 

Sun Tztt means the jj Shang dynasty, founded in 1766 B.C. Its 
name was changed to Yin by j^ J^f P'an Keng in 1401. 

was due to I Chih 

Better known as ^ ^ I Yin, the famous general and statesman 
who took part in Ch'eng T'ang's campaign against |j| ^ Chieh Kuei. 




who had served under the Hsia. Likewise, the rise of 
the Chou dynasty was due to Lii Ya 

S IpJ Lu Shang, whose "style" was -^ ^f, rose to high office 
under the tyrant &J- rfe Chou Hsin, whom he afterwards helped to over- 
throw. Popularly known as ^ ^ , a title bestowed on him by Wen 
Wang, he is said to have composed a treatise on war, erroneously identi- 
fied with the -fc Ipg . 

who had served under the Yin. 

There is less precision in the Chinese than I have thought it well to 
introduce into my translation, and the commentaries on the passage are 
by no means explicit. But, having regard to the context, we can hardly 
doubt that Sun Tzu is holding up I Chih and Lii Ya as illustrious examples 
of the converted spy, or something closely analogous. His suggestion is, 
that the Hsia and Yin dynasties were upset owing to the intimate know- 
ledge of their weaknesses and shortcomings which these former ministers 
were able to impart to the other side. Mei Yao-ch'en appears to reseat 
any such aspersion on these historic names: "I Yin and Lii Ya," he 
says, "were not rebels against the Government ( ife ^ ~jfe [|| -{^ ). 
Hsia could not employ the former, hence Yin employed him. Yin could 
not employ the latter, hence Chou employed him. Their great achieve- 
ments were all for the good of the people." Ho Shih is also indignant: 

" How snou ld two divinely inspired men 
such as I and Lu have acted as common spies? Sun Tzu's mention of 
them simply means that the proper use of the five classes of spies is a 
matter which requires men of the highest mental calibre like I and Lu, 
whose wisdom and capacity qualified them for the task. The above 
words only emphasise this point." Ho Shih believes then that the two 
heroes are mentioned on account of their supposed skill in the use of 
spies. But this is very weak, as it leaves totally unexplained the significant 
words ^g jj and ^ jj* . Capt. Calthrop speaks, rather strangely, of 
"the province of Yin . . . the country of Hsia . . . the State of Chu . . . 
the people of Shang." 

27. Hence it is only the enlightened ruler and the wise 
general who will use the highest intelligence of the army 
for purposes of spying, 

Ch'en Hao compares 15 : ^ || Jj* jfi | ^ pjj . He points 

out that ^ jit ; H ffr 3lt $ " the god-like wisdom of Ch'eng 
T'ang and Wu Wang led them to employ I Yin and Lii Shang." The 
T'u Shu omits ^ . 

and thereby they achieve great results. 

Tu Mu closes with a note of warning: ^ ^fC ffi JJ j|| ^ -jfj- 

* W ^K rfii 1 & ^ Rg #f K il ^c HJ * W H RB 

pjj / |ij| ^ ^" "Just as water, which carries a boat from bank to bank, 
may also be the means of sinking it, so reliance on spies, while produc- 
tive of great results, is oft-times the cause of utter destruction." 

Spies are a most important element in war, because on 
them depends an army's ability to move. ^ r 

The antecedent to |H / must be either Rfl 5& or ffl Rfl 4 understood 

**- w I w V PI / I -9 I M V M 

from the whole sentence. Chia Lin says that an army without spies is 
like a man without ears or eyes. 




^ VIII. 12; X. 25, 26; XL 


18, 66; XIII. 2. 


gg X. 21. 


^ II. 20; V. 22; VI. 4; 

XII. 22. 



ftfc VII. 15. 



H? L 2; VIII. 14; IX. 39; 


X. 13, 20; XL 41. 


jgfe passim. 

~T>N * 


fg XL 28. 



f^ IX. 21. 



ft IX. 29. 



^ VI. 32, 34; X. 18; XL 


ft VI. 34. 



if V ' 9- 


j|f} VII. 28. 


^H" passim. 


#r v. i 3 ; XL 6 3 . 



^ XII. 4.* 



Hi VII. 32; IX. 25,27; X.i8. 


JO. ix. 23. 



^ III. 7; VII. 3, 5,6,7,9, 

10, 22; VIII. 3; XI. i, 

4, n, 47, w, XIII. 2. 

V. 3, 5,10, ii ; VII. 32; 

XL 35. 
III. 3, 14; IV. 16; VII. 

23; XL 32, 56, 63. 
XL 1 8. 

III. 4; XL 62; XIII. 4, 27. 

II. 2; III. 3, 4, 5, 6; 
VIII. 3; XL 7, 55; 

XIII. 20. 

ff| 2 II. 4, 17; XL 19. 

7pP| IV. 17, 18, 19. 

ff I. 3, 12, 15,16; VI. 22; 

VII. 4, 22; X. 21; 
XL 22. 

2fc VI. 10; VII. 6; XI. 15, 
19, 68. 

$k IX - 3- 
i? n. " 

, III. 18; IV. 2; VI. 18; 

X. 31; XI. 55- 
| XIII. 8. 

II II. 15- 

lj VI. 15,30; VII. 29,32; 

VIII. 3; IX. 4; X. 7, 
15,19, 27, 28,29; XL 
9, 29; XIII. 20. 




IX. 7, 15; XL 65. 
VI. 25; XII. 8. 
IX. 32; XL 16. 




III. 16; VIL 25. 

V, 12, 13; VII. I7 ; IX. 
12; XL 10. 

V. 15; XI. 38. 

VI. 4; VIL 31; IX. 29. 

IV. 20; VIL ii ; XL 22; 
XII. i. 

XII. 4.* 

IX. 4 ; XL 30. 

XL 49- 
_ passim. 
I IX. 2 7; XL 38, 66; XIII. 24. 

" II. 17; VIL 23, 24, 26, 

32; IX. 33. 
IIL 4. 

IL i. 

II. 4; IX. 22; XII. 3, 4; 

XIII. 8. 
IIL n; IX. 15. 

IX. 43; XL 16, 32. 
II. 13; XIII. i. 

V. 3, 5, 6 > I0 > n. 

IV. 20; X. 25. 

VII. 27, 28, 29; XL 22. 

I. 25; II. 13, i4,2o;XIII. i. 
^ II. i, 14; VIL 7. 
1j(\ V. 4; XL 54, 55- 






H IX ^ 

XT v. 6. 

?I V. 17, 18. 

^' XL 18,46, 47, 48, 49, 50. 

^ 4 L 4 , 9, ii, i3, i5; IL 

15, 20; IIL 5, 11,17; 

VII. i, 7, 9, 27; VIII. 

! 4, 5, I2 , 13, I4J 

IX. 33; X. 13, 14, 
17, 18, 19, 20, 21; 
XL 35, 40, 61; XII. 

16, 18, 22; XIII. 3, 
4, 20, 27. 

3? IX ' '7- 

3Jg I.i3,2i;II.i8; III.n; 

IX. 24; X. 16, 19; 

XII. 13. 
3g IH.3; VII. 2, 12; VIII. 

2; IX. 8; XL i, 5, 

^ L 3, 12. 
^ IX. 44; X. 18. 
J|| I. 22; X. 26. 

W n - 

X^ II. 5; XL 62. 

tl IX ' 2 3 

Jg IL ii, I2 ; V. 6. 

||> VI. 275X1.33; XIII. 19. 
?S XL X 9> 25- 

n vm - iz - 

|f| V. 13, 14, 15. 

^ VI11 - 9- 

^ XL 48. 

JL HI. 16; XL 23. 



V. 17, !8; VII. 25. 




VII. 7. 
IX. 17. 
III. 10. 

IX. n; XL 15, 
XL 67. 

I. 26; IV. 8, 10 ; VII. 23; 

IX. 31. 

II. i; IV. 20; V. 23; VI. 
6, 19; XL 6i;XlII. i. 

XL 42, 44. 

VI. 17, 20; IX. 9; XL 

15, 45- 

I. 91 II. 4, 15; IV. 12; 

VIII. 7; XIII. 15,27. 

[= =g] VI. 12; XL 39. 

V. 22; XL ii, 17; XII. 
8, n, 19. 

X. i, 6, 7. 

VIL 3, 4, 22. 

I. 7, 10, 17: VI. 27, 31; 

X. 21. 
XL 46. 

XIII. 26.* 

V. i, 17, !8; VII. 29, 30, 
31, 32; VIII. 6; X. 2 6; 
XL 35- 

III. 16; V. 12, 13; VI. 
3, 9* 25; VII, 4, 8, 9, 






10; IX. 14, 37; X. 13, 
20; XL 6, 26, 29; 

XIII. 2. 

Ifc VI. 2; XII. 18. 
S^ II. i. 
jf IX. 7, 8. 

I. 8, 19; II. n; VI. 20; 
VIL 31; IX. 15, 16, 
18; X. 21. 

III. 13; VI. 10; VIL 25; 

IX. 19, 24, 28, 31,40; 

X. 24; XL 49- 

II. 7; XL 23. 

II. i; VIL 23, 24; XIII. 
i, 2. 

IX. 17, 39; XL 22, 48. 
XL 26. 
XL 28. 

I. 23; IX. 42; XL 25; 
XIII. 14. 

III. 10 ; VII. 7; IX. 41. 

VIL 18. 

V. 22; VI. 23; VIL 30; 
IX. 18; XL 35; XII. 7. 

II. 17: VII. 23, 24, 26; 
IX. 33- 

IX. 15, 17. 

VII. 8. 

I. 3- 
IX- 37- 

XII. 22. 

XL 43- 

I. 3, 12; XL 19, 41, 51; 

XIII. 2, 6. 
IX. 26. 

ch'ing $| IX. 25; XI. i, 3, u, 

44, 46. 
chio ^ VI. 24. 

g XIII. 2. 

chiu ;/(, IV. 7; VIII. 4, 5, 6; 

XL 41. 
^ II. 2, 3, 5, 6, 19; III. 

6; IX. 39; XII. ii. 
$fc VI. n, 20; XI. 15, 30. 

Ch'ill ^ IV. 15; V. 21 ; X. 2 4 ; 

XI. 25. 

jfc U. 12, 14. 

fl VII. 33; IX. 13. 
|K IV. 10. 
chiung jjlf IX. 36. 

ch'iung1|| V. 6, 10, n; VI. 28; 

VII. 36; IX. 34; X. 30. 
cho ffl II. 5. 

chou |J! VII. 26, 28; XII. n. 
-^ XI. 30, 39. 
Jg III. n: XIII. 26.* 

g II. U. 

chu 3: I. 10, 13; II. 20; X. 23, 
24; XI. 19, 20; XII. 
16, 18; XIII. 3, 25. 
H II. 4; HI. 16; VII. 1 2; 

VIII. 10; XL 2, 6, 
28,* 38, 52. 

^ IX. 45- 

|jf/ IX. 13; X. 21. 

I3c XL 64. 

H XL 6, 46. 

ch'u ^ 3 VI. 1,24,30; VII. 7; 

IX. i, 2, 6, 8, 9, 12, 
13; XL 68. 


JlplX. '7- 



ft I. 24; V. 6; VI. 5; 
IX- 25; X. 5, 6, 7; 
XIII. i, 4 . 
^ VI. 13, i 4; VII. 25; 

XL 20, 42. 

-^ V. 22, 2 3 . 


^ L 2 5 ; XIII. 12. 


a vi. 10. 


n ix - 35. 


j^J passim. 


g VII. 6, u; IX. 33; XL 

i, 7, 13, 44, 49- 


M n - i s- 

$? V. 6. 


p II. 13; IX. 8; XL 29.- 


tif vi. 10. 



Jg IX. 20, 25; X. 3,8,9, 
10, n; XL 37. 
^ II. i; IV. 10 ; VII. 6; 
X. 30; XL 63. 
JP< VIL2;VIILi;XL 4 o,54. 


ffi II. i, 14, 17; IX. 23, 25. 


_P_. III. 4; XII. 2. 


^ X. 25; XL 29; XIII. 8. 

{ft VII. 13; XL 8, 52. 


TP XL 68. 


fg III. 4. 

^pj XL 24. 


ti XL 24. 
^ I. 15; II. 13, 14; IX. 7, 
15, 39; X. 7, n; XL 

26, 38, 43. 

I 80 









I. 20; II. 9, 16; V. 19; 
VI. 7, 33; IX. 40, 43. 
XII. 15; XIII. 5, 6. 

II. 2, 4, 13; III. 2, 6; 
VIII. io; XL 41. 

VI. i, 5, 29, 30; VII. 
7; VIII. ro; XL 47- 

IX. 24; XL 39- 

VIII. 2; XL j, 6, 12, 
43, 48. 

I. io. 

VII. 7. 

IX. 33- 

III. i, 7; IV. 7;X. 3 i; 
XII. 22. 

I. 17; HI. 15; VII. 21 ; 
XL 55- 

VIII. 2; IX, i, 3, 4, 7, 
15; XL 22, 43; XII. 14. 

IV. 20; XL 67. 

VII. 9. 

VII. 36; XL 50. 

III. 1 2, 17; VII i;VIII. 
i, 3; XII. 22; XIII. 

4, 8, 27. 

X. 12, 15. 

XL 39- 

H I. 4; II. 15; IV. 17; 

VII. io ; XII. I. 
^f IV. io ; VII. 24, 26; 

XL 36. 
ft X. 25. 
ffl} passim. 

I. 4, io, 13; II. i; III. 
i, 45 7,8; IV. 16,17; 










VII. i, 8, 9, 22, 25, 
33, 37; VIII. i, n; 
XL i, 56. 
V. 15; VII. 4; XL 28,38; 

XII. 35 6, 7, 9, io; 

XIII. 19. 

I. 13; IX. 36, 42. 
III. 3; XL 54. 

XIII. 7, IT, 13, 21, 25. 

* IX. 34; X. 4, 5- 


XL 56, 57. 

VIII. 12. 

V. 22; XL 31. 

IX. 13. 

II. i, 13, 14; XII. 15; 
XIII. i. 

III. 2, 6; IV. 8, 9; IX. 40; 
X. 14; XL 27, 53; XII. 
17; XIII. 3, 15, 16, 17. 

III. 5 , 8; V. i; VI. 13, 14, 

VII. io, 16, 20. 
III. 5; VIII. 12. 
V. 16. 
XL 39. 
III. 4. 
VII. 17; XL 30; XII. 4, 

IO, II. 

II. i; XIII. i. 

X. 19. 
IX. 34- 
IX. 22. 
XL 63. 

|^ III. 5; IX. 5,42. 






XL 15. 
V. 6; VI. 28; XII. 20,21. 

VIII. 14; IX. 17. 

IX. 17, 22. 

I. 14, 26; III. 18. 

IX. 42, 44; X. 17. 
XL 39- 

X. 25. 

III. ii. 

II. 7; VI. 3; VIII. 7, 9, 
10; XL 57, 59. 

I. 7. 

IV. 10. 
X. 18. . 

V. 5; VII. 2, 16; VIII. 
i, 2; IX. 39; X. 19, 
24; XL 12, 16, 17, 54; 
XII. 19. 

XL 65. 

XL 18. 

^P VII. 2; IX. 26. 

J|f X. 26; XIII 14, 25. 

^ II. 4; HI- 16; VII. 12; 
VIII. 10; XI. 2, 6, 52. 
^ passim. 
=g^ IV. i; XIII. 26. 
HI IX. ii ; XII. 20. 
^ VI. 21. 

^ IX ' 35- 
,t IX. 38. 
m XL 34. 







HI- 3, 7, i7; IV. 7, 
9; VI. 29; IX. ii ; XL 
6, 15, 55; XII. 10. 

XIJI. 26.* r 

I. 8. 

'..V. 1 1; VII.- 13; IX. 39, 
45; XL 1 5, 30; XIII. 2. 

VII. 14, 20; XL 52; 
XIII. 7, 9, 22. :?>:;[ 
|6J VII. 33; XI. 61. 
~ VI. 29; XIII. 5. 

XL 26. 

XL 60. 

III. 10; IX. 17. 

III. 4. 

IX. 22. 

IX. 38. 


I. 8; V. 14; VII. 13; 
IX. 17, 18; X. i, 10, 
21 ; XL 8, 40, 52. 
. 15; X. 14, 16; XL 

IX. 15 

24, 5 8 > 59 
XIII. 4, 27. 
I. 9; IX. 45; XL 25. 
VII. 27, 30. 

i. 13; v. 22; vi. 6, 29, 

34; VII. 7, 13; IX. 

42, 445 XL 8,13,52; 

XIL 2. 
J|J passim. 
Jgl XIL 18; XIII, i, 26. 

V. 22. 












II. 10, II, 13; XIII. I, 20. 

III. 4; IV. 6; XL 25; 
XII. 15, 16. 

IX. 38. 

|XJ xii. 15. 

II. 13; V. 4; VI. 10; 

IX. 32. 
VII. 17; IX. 35. 

ft XII. 4- 

VII. 21; IX. 34; XL 56. 

X. 19. 

V. ii. 

I. 26; VI. 9; XL 30. 
IX. 32. 
XL 68. 

VI. 33- 

VI. 12. 

VII. 30. 

VII. 3; VIII. 9. 

III. 12; 

V. ii. 
IX. 10.* 
IX. 17. 

III. 6; V. 13. 

XL 55- 

VI. 19. 
V. 1 6. 

II. 4, 16; XL 27. 

III. 14, 16. 
f XL 50. 


a ii. i 7; in. 4 ; iv. i 3 

IX. 40, 42; XL 24, 34, 51. 
^j I. 8; IV. ii; IX. 9, 20, 

41; XL 37. 

|f; I. 5, 24; VI. 5; XL 60. 
;g II. 18; VI. 21 ; IX. 24, 40. 

$ft IV. 19- 

|J III. 15, 16; IX. 21; XL 26. 

fft I. 23; VI. i, 4; VII. 31. 

^ II. 8, 12; VIII. 10. 

^ VI. 21 ; XL 4. 

$C IX. i, 8. 

^ IX. 29 

ffi XIII. 26.* 

el XL 7 . 

gg XL 28. 
H XL 63. 
lH XIII. 16. 

ift III. 5. 

ff XII. 4.* 

J[/j[ passim. 

^ passim. 

^ II. i; XL 29, 30, 58, 59. 

IS IX. 33- 

m XL 21. 

Jl passim. 

fr i. 9 ; xiii. 2 , 16. 

fff; III. 15; V. 21, 22j X. 13, 20. 

^ IV. 20; V. 23. 

jih II. i; IV. 10; V. 6; VI. 19. 
20, 34; VII. 7; XL 28, 
63; XII. 3, 4; XIII. i, 2. 




%> III. 9; IV. 19, 20; IX. 8; 


U VII. 23, 24, 26. 

X. 5, 9, ii ; XL 18, 32, 


Jfi XII. i. 

34, 39, 5 6 - 
|$ III. ii; V. 17, 18; X. 16, 


r 1-~ 

^ III. 17; V.i, 2; VI. 14, 

18, 19. 

15, 16, 17, 18; XL 


$J IX. 34. 

^' l 

* * 

ft X. i, 4, 5. 

^ XI- 33- 


3fe VI. 12. 


M VIIL 12. 



|* I. 10; XIII. 10. 

7V IX. 35; XL passim. 


ID XL 63. 

jj(U V passim; VII. 17, 18, 19; 

21 I. 26- V 8 

X. 25, 26: XL 29, 30, 


ftj/ " 

38, 68; XIII. 24. 


R i. ; IX. a 3 . 


|j II. 2, 4; VII. 28, 29, 34; 


yfl^ I. 26; VI. 20. 

IX. 23. 

^^-. _ T 

sff X.IL 12, 2-?. 


HI XL 65, 68. 

|W-L ' 5* 


tfc XL 18, 30. 


jjf VII. 28, 29, 35; XL 9. 

;jsf II. 15. 


4 XIII 5. 


-If- II. n, 19; IX. 115X1.15. 


g|l XL 33. 



^11 XL 28.* 


|gj VI. ii, 29; VII. 33; IX. 


2, 6, 9, ii, 23: X. 3, 

H I. 18. 

10 ; XL 38. 


IE VI - 2 s- 


XL 575 XIII. 19, 23. 

M II. i. 


H II. 17- 




^t II. i; XL 37. 


^ II. 14; XIII. i. 


y|| IX. 30. 


-ty IV. 12; XIII. 4, 27. 

^t II. i;IX. 4, 5; XL 20, 42. 

]^ passim. 


;^r XL 20. 

;th VI. 14. 

ffj passim. 


^ IX. 32. 


^ VI. II. 


g| I. i; II. 3, 6, 9, 10,20; 


*g VII. 36; IX. 34. 

III. i, 6, ii ; X. 24; 


jlf IV. ii ; XL 15. 

XL 43, 54, 55; XII. 

21, 22. 

|j VI. 7: XL 24, 45, 48. 


jg IV. 8; V. 7, 8, 9, 10; 


jw passim. 

VIIL 1 3; X. 14; XL 5 1. 


^ IX. i. 

ffi V. 15. 








, - w 


vii. 20.. ,, 

VIII. 1 1; IX. 4, 21, 23, 
38 ;X. 2; XL 5, 18,39; 

XIII. 21. 

XI. 64. 

I. 23; VJ.i,4,:6; VII. 31; 
IX. 31; XL ...22. 

IX. 15. 

VI. ii. 

IV. 10; VII. 19. 

IX.' 33; X. 16, 17, 18. 

II. i; VI. 6, 19, 20; VII. 7, 
9, 10; XI. 61; XIII. i. 

VI. 23; XI. 33, 41. 

II. 2, 4, 13; IV. 10; VII. 
31; IX. 40; XI. 22,23; 
. XII. 8. 

IV. I 4 ; VII. i 5 ; IX. 29. 

I. 23; XL 16. 

IV. 17, 18. 

II. i, 8,9; VII. ii ;X. 3. 

XII. 16, 22. , 

IX. 40; X. 19, 21. 
VIII. 12. 

I. 13. 

VII. 13, 17; IX. 17; XI. 

8, 52- 

I. 5> 13; IX. 4, 43, 44, 
45; X. 7, 26; XL 25, 28, 

56 ^ XIII. 12, 20. 

vii. 33; ix. 13. 

II. 14; X. 13, 14, 20. 













1.15; VIII. 2; IX. 7; XII. 15. 

VI. 31; IX. 6. 
IX. 15. 

VIII. 12. 

II. 14; III. 4. 
XIII. i. 

IX. 9 / 
XIII. 2. 

I. 20; III. 16; V. 16, 17, 
18; VII. 30; IX. 33; X. 
14, 18, 26. 

V, 4, 

XL 31. 
IX. 2. 

VIII. 7; IX. 41- XI. 375 
XII. 1 6. 

XIII. 26.* 

in. i. y 

IX. 36. 

VII. 18, 20; XL 13, 21, 

II. I4 ; IX. 34; XL 31. 

II. ii. 
XL 31. 

III. 18. 
XIII. 20. 
III. 13- 

X. 30. 
XIII. 14. 

I. 26; XL 64. 
XIII. 17. 

I. 5, 6; II. 20; IV. 20; 
VII. 24, 25, 26; VIII. 
12; IX. 44; X. 124. 

fgj II. 20; VI. 9; VII. i; VIII. 

i, 3; XI 27; XII. 15. 
ig IV. 12; V. 2; X. 24; 

XIII. 20. 
9fj I. 13; IV. 10; X. 18; XII. 

13, 16, 22; XIII. 4, 27. 

t ix. 14. 

XL 67. 

J| I. u; VI. 27; VII. 3; XL 

39; XIII. 8, 14- 
f| III. 3, 7; VI. 25; VII. 12; 

VIII. 2; IX. 26; XL 14, 

22, 37, 52- 
g IV. 10; VII. 24, 26; XL 36. 

^C V. 22. 

j|: VIL 28 
J*j I. 16; X. 31. 

H III. 16; VIL 3, 19; IX. 
42; X. 4, 5, 12; XL 8. 

m i- " 

pj II. i, 13; IX. 4; XII. 6, 
9; XIII. i, 7, 10, 22. 

|t|i passim. 

|f VIL 35- 

$i VII. 33- 

J^ v - J 3J IX. 22, 32. 

^ XIII. 2. 

^ II. 14. 

$t I. 22; II. 16; IX. 33,39: 
X. 17; XII. 18, 20. 

^ II. 14; V. 15. 

- XL 68. 

& VIL 35- 

* III. 5 , 6; XL 55- 








H XL 53, 54. 

$ I. 15; IV. 13, 14, 15, 16, 
19; V. 3, 16; VI. 21 ; 
X. 20, 22; XL 59. 

VII. 9; IX. 4, 28; X. 7, 

27, 28, 29. 

^ IX. 17. 

fc IV. 7, 16; X. 24. 

If X. 24: XIII. 8. 


g XIII. 13. 

^ II. 3; IX. 37- 

|(8 VI. 4; VIL 31. 

fg III. 8; VIL 7. 

ft VII. 34; X. 14, 19; XL 23. 

flf VII. 33; IX. 8, 9, 13,16; 

XL 7, 45- 
^. I. 22; IX. 23, 24. 

j|| I. 21, 24; VI. 16, 17,18; 

IX. 24; X. 5. 
j^ pen IX. 27. 

m X '4> 17- 

i! XIL 4 .* 

g| I. 21; III. 9; VI. 29; VIL 

29; X. 24. 
P IL 4. 
^ II. 14. 
|J\ passim. 
^ III. 18; X. 2, 6, 31; XL 

4, 5, 9- 
X. 26; XL 29. 

tjj VIII. 2; XL i, 8, 13,49- 
H II. 14; VII. 8. 

II V - I2 ' 



pien *JR V. 7, 8, 9, 10; VI. 33; 
VII. 16, 26, 32; VIIL 
4, 5, 6; XL 41; XII. 5, 12. 
pin 5t IL i. 
p'in ^ II. 10. 
ping ^ XL 61. 
f# IX. 40; XL 22. 
-| passim. 
p'ing 2p ix. 9. 

po |:J II. 10, n, 13; III. 2, 18; 
VII. 7; IX. 12; XIII. 
i, 2. 

jfl vii. 3 6. 

p'o ^ II. 14; III. i; XL 39- 
pu ^ passim. 

san I. 4; II. 8; III. passim; 
IV. 17; V. 2; VII. 7, 
10, 27; XL 6, 21, 40, 
56; XII. i; XIII. 14, 27. 
^ IX. 23; XL 1,2, 11,42,46. 
sao tyjfc XII. 4. 
j|| XIII. i. 
se ^ V. 8. 

sha ^ II. 16; III. 5; VIIL 12, 

14; XL 61; XIII. 20. 
shan iJj V. 23; VII. 13, 18; IX. 

i, 2; XL 8, 29, 52. 
5a| passim. 

shang_t L 5 ; III. 1,3, 17; IV. 7; 
VII. 9; IX. 6, 14; X. 
21; XL 15, 64; XII. 10; 
XIII. 27. 

H I. 13; ILi 7 ; IX. 36; XL 
56; XIII. 14. 



[,> 1.26; III. 9; IX. 23; X. 19. 
VII. 2; VIIL 2; IX. 34; 

XIII. 20, 21. 

XL 29. 
IX. 14. 

VI. ii, 25; X. 25; XL 


f=f VIIL 8; XL 55. [See under 



. , XL 4L 
|$ VI. 9, 331 XIII. 5, 8. 
XL 24. 

XII. 22. 

I. 2, 6, 8; IV. 18; V. 6, 
n, 17; VI. 23, 34; VIIL 

12; IX. 2, 6, 9. 12, 17; 

XL 58; XII. 21 ; XIII. 

7, 13, 24. 
V. 7; VI. 9. 

XIII. 15. 

II. 14. 

IV. 14; VI. 22; IX. 35. 

II. 15; V. 12, 22, 23. 

V. 6; XL 68. 
ft I. 19; XL 50. 

XL 56. 

X. 14, 16. 

I. 7; V. 6; VI. 34; XII. 

3, 4, 9- 

III. 17; XL 37. 

V. passim. 

I. 16,17; VI. 32; X.12,15. 

:8 7 

-J- 1 II. I, 13, 14, 15, 17; III. 

8; VI. 14, 20; VII. 8, 
9, 10; X. 15; XIII. i. 

i I. 13; HI- 5, M, 15; XL 

23, 24, 27, 28, 36. 
ff I. 21; V. 4; VI. 30; IX. 

12; XIII. 17. 
Hf IV. 3; V. 3; VI. 3, 18, 

22; X. 26; "XL. passim; 

XIII. 16, 22, 23, 24. 
^ I. i; III. 14; XI, XIII, 

>\**f VIII. n; IX. 18; XL 15, 

31; xm. 27. 

ftfj II- i, 3, 10, 1 1; VII. 36; 

XL 43; XII. 18; XIII. i. 

jjjl VII. 23; IX. 2, 6; X. 25. 

^ II. 9, 15; VII. ii, 35; IX. 
34; XL 21, 49. 

<g V. 3; VII. i; VIII. T, 3 . 

^ IV. 5, 6,7; VI. 7, 8, I2 ; 
XL 48; XII. 12; XIII. 

2, 20. 

-^ XL 30, 34- 

IR IX - 22 - 

-||- XL 29. 

g IV. 17, 18; V. r, 18; VI. 

20; IX. 36; XII. 12; 

XIII. 2. 
ffi IX. 8, 21. 
gft I. 13; V. ii. 
$fc IV. 19. 

^Ht I* 7* 
ftr VIII. 6. 









XL 29, 30. 
XL 38. 

IV. 20; V. 12; VI. 29, 31, 
32; IX. 3, 4, 5,6,8,14; 
XII. 13, 14. 

II. 14. 

XL 60. 


; I. 2, 6, 8; V. 6; VI. 23, 
34; VIII. 2, 12; IX. 9, 
10 ; X. 25; XI. passim; 
XII. 21 ; XIII. 7, 12, 19, 

[ I. 4; IV. 17 jV. 6; VI. 34; 
XL 43, 53; XII. i, 4. 

| II. i. 

II. 20: VI. 9. 
, XL 55. 

II. 5; VI. 10 ; VIII. 12; 
XL 19. 

IX. 44, 45; XII. 2. 
: IX. 34. 
'. I. 26. 

II. 4; VI. II, 21, 22; 

VIII. 5, 6; X. 7. 
XL 67. 


I. i; II. 14; III. 10; X. 

17; XL 54; XIII. 27. 
IX. 23; XL 43. 

III. 17; IV. i; V. 20; VI. 
i ; VII. 30, 31; VIII. ii ; 

IX. 14; X. 8, 10; XL 
18; XII 7, 9- 



III. 18; X. 31. 








II. I. 

II. 4, 13- 

II. 15; XL 30. 
VII. 32. 

I. passim; III. 17; IV. 16; 
VII. 7; X. passim; XL 
8, 19, 20, 32, 42; XII. 
22; XIII. i, 8. 

VII. 14; XI 52; XIII. i. 

III. 9. 

IV. 13. 

IX. 2; XL 38. 

I. 2, 4, 8, 13; IV. 7, 14, 
18; V. 6; VI. passim; 
VII. 14, 20; VIII. 2, 3, 

5; ix. 13, 15; x. i, 13, 

21, 29, 31; XL passim. 

II. 9, 15, 16, 18; III. 9, 

; IV. i, 2, 3, 14; V. 


. i, 2, 3, 14; 
3, 19; VI, IX, X, XI 
XIII. passim. 
IX. 10. 

IX. 13. 

XL 38. 

XL 28. 

IX. i 9 ; X. 12. 

IX. 23. 

I. 4, 7, i 3; m. 7; IV. 7, 
9; V. 6; IX. 15; X.i 4 , 
31; XL 6, 55; XII. 4. 

IX. 14. 

t'ing |g I. 15, 16; V. 7; XL 18. 

g IV. TO; VII. 19. 
to Jg IV. 18; VI. 21 ; XIII. 5. 

f|| VII. 28, 29. 
^ VII. 27; XL 18; XII. 14. 

^ I. 26; IV. 10; VI. 16,21; 
VII. 26; IX. 21, 40; 
XL 7. 
fo $ XL 68. 

ton pj V. 2, 16; VI. 22; XL 

24, 5 1 - 
fou ^ V. 4; XL 23, 28, 40, 58. 

tsa ^ II. 17; VIII. 7, 8, 9. 
tsai ~ffi passim. 

^ III. 5; VIII. 13; X. 14; 

XL 26. 
f* VI. 21 ; XIII. 1 8. 

H II. 8. 

ts'ai Hj- II. n, 12, 13; XL 27. 
\% II. i. 

ts'angp^ IV. 7; IX. 17- 
tsao Jp. XII. 6. 
ts'ao IjjS; IX. 8, 21. 

^ XIII. i. 
tse ^|J passim. 

g| VII. 13; IX. 7, 8; XL 

8, 52- 

^ V. 21. 

ts'e >[||J IX. 25. 
JBll XL 22. 



VI. 22. 

VI. 17,20; XL 30; XIII. 


I. 16; XII. 13; XIII. 3. 



VI. 23. 


XL 28. 


ts'o ^ 

II. 2, 4. 


IV. 13. 


VI. 26. 

tsou j^jr 

IX. 27; X. 14, 15. 


tsu >C 

. PI 

tsui |p 

I. 13; II. 17; III. i; V. 
20; VII. 34; IX. 42; 
X. 16, 18, 25, 27, 28, 
29; XL 16, 28, 36. 
II. 3, 9; IV. 6; VI. 24; 
IX. 40; XL 21, 31. 
VII. 13; IX. 17; XL 8, 52. 
X. 24. 



ts'un ^1 
tsung ||j 
ts'ung ^J 

I. 2; XL 10,58; XII. 21. 
X. 1 8. 

V. 19; VIL 3 4;X.9,ii; 
XL 9, 51; XII. 8. 



IV. 10. 

tu fl| 

IL 5 . 

VII. 25. 


t'u tfc 

IX. 23. 

. m 

XL 68. 

; 1 

VII. 4; XL 37. 
VIII. 3; XL 49- 


tuan ^g 

V. 14; VI. 34. 


V. ii. 


V. 4. 

tui It 

X. 17. 




III. 13; VI. 10; VII. 25; 

IX. 24, 28; X. 24. 
V. 1 6. 

II. 2, 4. 

III. 7. 

IV. 7 ; V. 19, 20, 22; VI. 
4, 23; VII. 15, 18, 19, 
21; IX. 21, 33; X. 30; 
XL 17; XII. 17, 19; 
XIII. i, 4, 27. 

VIII. 4, 55 X. i, 2, 3; 
XL 63. 

I. 5; III. 14, 15, 17; XL 30. 

I. i; X. 25, 26; et al. 
IV. 7; VI. 3; X. 17; XL 2. 
VII. 6, n; XII. i. 


I. 16; II. i; XII. 6, 9; 
XIII. T, 12. 

II. i; XIII. i. 

IX. 23; X. 2, 4; XL 5, 
23, 24, 28, 39, 45. 

I. 2; VII. 11; XL 10, 58; 

XII. 21. 
XL 53, 54. 

II.I8; IILi3,i6; IV. n; 
VI. 33; IX. 12, 43; XL 
15, 40, 62; XIII. 8. 

L 6; IX. 37- 

I. 6; II. 20; V. 22; VII. 
5; VIII. 12, 14; XII. 17. 

X. 24. 

IX. 7, 40, 41; XIII. 27. 
XL 29. 







XL 54, 55- 

1 90 


VI. 34. 
IX. 17. 

VII. 6, ii; IX. 38. 

VI. 9; XI. 66; XIII. 17,18. 

III. 8; VII. 36; VIII. 2; 
XL i, 9, 14, 45, 50, 51. 

IX. 43- 

g XII. 1 8, 20. 
PS XL 18, 30. 

gf] [. n; II. 5; IV. 10; VII. 

23; XIII. 19. 
^ VI. n, 12, 13, 14, 27; 

X. 2, 6, 7, 8, 10 : XL 

4, 5; XIII. 21. 
g\ XL 28. 
4&| passim. 

ty] VII. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36; 

IX. 4, 15; X. 9, n; 

XL 22, 57; XII. 7. 
3t passim. 
f& HI. i. 
^* passim. 
|$ II. 15; VIII. 8. 

ffjf VIII. 12. 

3| IX. n; XL 2 7 , 30. 

^ IX. 40, 43- 

% XL 30.* 

*f XIII. 26.* 

^ X. i, 8; XL 9, 45. 

XL 39- 
VII. 34- 

II. 17; IX. 12; XL 22,55. 
@| L 7; IX. ii, 13; X.3, 10. 

yao Jg VII. 32; XIII. 27. 
yeh -jjj^ passim. 

|j| VIII. 10. 

gj XL 21. 

fg XIII. 20. 

^ VII. 7, 26; IX. 32: XII. ii. 
yen j|| XL 23. 
S vil. 23; IX. 35; XL 57. 

I. 9; X. 18. 

XIII. 5. 

XII. 2. 
XL 28. 

yin |tj| III. 16; X. 7, n. 

I. 7; VIL 19; IX. ii. 

IX. 30. 

III. 4. 

XIII. 26.* 

1.17; IL 9 ; VI. 26, 31, 33; 
XII. 2, 5; XIII passim. 
ying m IX. 23. 

X. 8, 9. 
X. 25. 

/AJ _ VI. 28; XII. 5 j 6. 
$1 IX. 4, 5, 6, 16, 39- 
yo $J VI. 15; IX. 26; XI. 25. 
yu >& passim. 

VI. 17, 20; IX. 9, 13; 
XL 30; XIII. 20. 




VIII. 3; XL 9, 19. 

I. 20; VII. 4; IX. 28. 
HI. 4; IX. 39 
XL 35- 


I. 9; IV. 12; V. 17, 18; 
VII. 25; XL 28, 32. 

IX. 14. 


V. 19. 
III. 17. 

VI. 10; XL 51. 
XL 36. 

X. 17; XL 30. 
III. 17; XL 19. 

VII. 12; XL 52. 

VII. 3, 4, 22; XL 9, 37- 





IV. 6; VI. 24; XL 27. 

III. 17; VI. 1 1, 12; IX. 5, 

J 4, 19, 38; XIII. 20. 

I. 8, 19; II. 10; VI. 20; 
VII. 31; IX. 3, 16,19; 

X. I, 12, 21. 

VII. 6. 

V. l6, 22, 23. 


III. 4; IV. 10; V. 6; VI. 

VI. 21*; XL 30*, 43. 

V. 1 6. 
L III. 4. 
XL 22. 


[The numerals refer to pages] 

Abstract ideas of degree, 50. 
Accessible ground, 100, 101, 119. 
Accommodating oneself to the enemy, 

145, 148. 

Adaptation to circumstances, 23. 
Aides-de-camp, 171. 
"Aids to Scouting," quoted, 88, 89, 

107, 164. 

Alliances, 60, 119, 140, 142. 
Allotments of land, 62. 
Alps, crossings of the, 57. 
Amiot, Pere, vii, i. 
Anger, succeeded by gladness, 159. 
Army, divisions of the, 17, 33. 
Army on the march, 140. 
Arsenals, burning of, 151. 
"Art of War," quoted by Han Hsin, 


Art of war in a nutshell, 44. 
Athletics, 124. 
Attack, skill in, 28. 
Attack and defence, 25, 44. 
Autumn hair, 29. 

Baden-Powell, General. See "Aids to 

Baggage, 58. 
Baggage-train, 60. 
Baggage-trains, burning of, 151. 
Bait, offered by the enemy, 68. 
Balancing of chances, 31. 
Banners. See Flags and banners. 
Bases of supply, 60. 

Beasts, startled, sign of surprise at- 
tack, 89. 

Belgians at Waterloo, 130. 
Benevolence to spies, 170. 
Biot's Chou Li, ix. 
Birds rising, sign of ambuscade, 89. 
Blucher, 48. 
Bluster, 95. 
Boers, 18. 

"Book of Army Management," 63. 
Buff-coats, 58. 
Burning one's boats, 133. 

Calamities, six, 105. 

Calthrop, Capt. : his edition of Sun 
Tzti's text, xxxii; his translation 
of Sun Tzu, viii ; quoted, passim. 

Camp, shifting, 133. 

Camping, 80 sqq. 

Cannae, battle of, u. 

Casinum, 140. 

"Catalogue of Chinese Books," xxxiv. 

Chan Kuo Ts'e, quoted, 10; referred 
to, xxiv. 

Chan Ton Ta Chia Ping Fa, xviii. 

Chang Ao, a commentator, xlii. 

Chang Hsiu, 69. 

Chang Liang, li, 109, 116. 

Chang Ni, 144. 

Chang Shang-ying, lii. 

Chang Shou-chieh, xvi, xvii. 

Chang Tsai, li. 

Chang Tzu-shang, a commentator, xli. 



Chang Yii's commentary on Sun Tzu, 
xl; quoted, 5, 8, 9, n, 20, 21, 22, 
24, 25, 27, 30, 33, 34, 35, 39,42, 
44, 46, 49, 50, 51, 55, 56, 58, 60, 
63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 72, 73, 74, 
75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 
87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 94,97,99, 103, 

105, 107, 109, in, 112, 119, 124, 
125, 126, 127, 131, 132, 133, 134, 
i3 6 > T 39 I 4i, J 42, 143, !45> I 5 2 , 
155, *5 6 , J 5 8 , J 59, l6l > l6 3> l6 7> 
170, 171, 172; referred to, 6, 15, 
17, 31, 36, 45, 71, 86, 95,96, 106, 
147, 153, 173. 

Ch'ang mountains, 128. 
Ch'ang-cho, battle of, 66. 
Ch'ang-she, siege of, 154. 
Chao State, army of, 28, 143; defeated 

by Ch'in, 166; King of, 57. 
Chao Chan, 106. 
Chao Kua, xlviii, 166. 
Chao She, famous march of, 57, 136; 

his use of spies, 166. 
Chao Yeh, xiv. 
Chao Ying-ch'i, 78. 
Chao Yiian-hao's rebellion, xli. 
Ch'ao Kung-wu, quoted, xxxvi, 

xxxvii, xxxviii, xl, xli. 
Chariots, 9, 91. 
Chariot fighting, 15, 16. 
Chariot wheels, burying of, 129. 
Chavannes, M.: his "Memoires Histo- 

riques" referred to, xiii, xvi, xlvi, 


Ch'en Chen-sun, quoted, xxiii. 

Ch'en Hao's commentary on Sun 
Tzu, xxxvi, xxxviii; quoted, 30, 
44, 56, 62, 65, 69, 73, 81, 93, 97, 

106, 108, no, 117, 118, 122, 124, 

133, 136, 141, 147, IS 2 , 170,175; 

referred to, 18, 68. 
Ch'en-ts'ang, siege of, 94. 
Cheng, principality of, 104, 116. 
Cheng and ch'-i. See Tactics, direct 

and indirect. 
Cheng Ch'iao, xl. 
Cheng Hou, quoted, xliii. 

Cheng Hsiian's commentary on the 
Chou Li, xviii. 

Cheng Tuan, xlii. 

Cheng Yu-hsien's / Shuo, xxxii, 
xxxiv; referred to, 36, 53, 58, 
70, 136. 

Ch'eng-an, city of, captured by Han 
Hsin, 28. 

Ch'eng-hung, battle of, 78. 

Ch'eng T'ang, xvi, 173, 175. 

Chi Hsieh, editor of commentaries 
on Sun Tzti, xxxviii, xli. 

Chi-mo, siege of, 90. 

Chi T'ien-pao's edition of Sun Tzti, 
xxxi, xxxii, xxxiii, xxxvi, xxxvii. 

Ch'i State, xii, xvi, 128. 

Ch'i Chieh, 90. 

Chia Hsu, a commentator, xli. 

Chia-ku, meeting at, xlvii. 

Chia Lin's commentary on Sun Tzu, 
xxxvi, xxxviii; quoted, 20, 30,34, 
46, 5, 57, 72, 75, 76, 86, 92, 94, 
95, 97, "7, 120, 133, 143, 148, 
152, 157, 175; referred to, 51,55, 
62, 65, 96, 108, 164. 

Chia Yu, referred to, xlvii. 

Chiang-ling, town of, in. 

Chiang Yuan, a spurious work, Hi. 

Chieh Kuei, the tyrant, 173. 

Chieh-li, a Tiukish Khan, 167. 

Ch'ien Ch'io Lei Shu, liii. 

Cfrien Fu Lun, referred to, xxiv. 

Cfrien Han Shu, quoted 81, 145, 
167; referred to, li, 28, 34, 57,69; 
bibliographical section of, quoted, 
xvii, xix, li; referred to, xviii, xx, 

Ch'ih Yu, 84. 

Chin State, xii, xvi, 106. 

Chin Shu, quoted, 78, 116; referred 
to, 123, 165. 

Ch'in State, 142. 

China's experience of war, xliv. 

Chinese characters, elasticity of, 159. 

Chinese sentiment opposed to mili- 
tarism, xliv. 

Ching, Duke of Ch'i, xv. 




Ching-chou Fu, 123. 
Ching-hsing pass, battle of, 143. 
Ching K'o, 127. 
Ching Wang, period of, xxiii. 
Chiu T'ang Shu, referred to, 104, 

167; bibliographical section of, 

referred to, liii. 
Chou C/i'm Shih I Tzu, text of Sun 

Tzti in, xxxi. 
Chou dynasty, 174. 
Chou Hsin, the tyrant, 1, 174. 
Chou Li quoted, 14, 55, 60, 68, 92, 

146; referred to, xxxix, xlviii, 64; 

Biot's translation of, ix. 
Chu Chih-wu, xxi. 
Chu Fu's edition of Sun Tzu, xvii, 

Chu Hsi, corrected by Legge, 32: 

quoted, xliii, xlvii. 
Chu-ko Liang, 46, 51, 74, 82, 117, 

122; supposititious works of, Hi. 
Chu-ko Wu-hou. See Chu-ko Liang. 
Ch'u State, xii, xiii, xvi, 124; the 

hereditary enemy of Wu, xxvii; 

Viscount of, no. 
Chuan Chu, xxi, 128. 
Chuan She-chu. See Chuan Chu. 
Chuang, Duke of Lu, 66. 
Chuang, Prince of Ch'u, 141, 162. 
Chuang Tzu, referred to, 29, 85. 
Chung Yung, xix. 
Circumstances, art of studying, 68. 
Classics, compared with Sun Tzti, xliii. 
Clearness of orders, 107. 
Clever fighter, the, 29, 41, 42. 
Cohesion, 134. 
Collapse, one of the six calamities, 

105, 106. 

Columns, marching in, 49. 
Commander, the, 2, 3. See also 

Commander-in-chief, killing the, 145; 

presence of mind of the, 66. 
Commentary, native, on Sun Tzu, 

ix, xxxivj^. 

Communications, line of, 101, 119. 
Compactness, 61. 

Confucius, and the art of war, xlvi, 
xlvii, xlviii; contemporary with 
Sun Tzu, xxx ; violates extorted 
oath, xlix. 

Constellations, 153. 

Contentious ground, 115, 118, 136. 

Contraction and expansion, 134. 

Conventional canons of warfare, 148. 

Co-operation, 129. 

Council-chamber, sternness in the, 

Country, natural features of, 60. 

Courage, one standard of, 130. 

Courant's "Catalogue des Livres 
Chinois," Hi. 

Cowardice, 78. 

Critical ground, 134, 135. 

Cromwell's use of spies, 164. 

Cross-divisions, 100. 

Cunning, 145. 

Danger, bracing effect of, 139, 145. 
Dangerously isolated ground, 72. 
Deception, war based on, 6, 132. 
Decision, 37, 38. 
Deductive calculation, 163. 
Defence, skill in, 27. 
Deliberation, 63. 
Demosthenes, the Athenian general, 


Desertion, 134, 136. 
Desperado, running amok, 125. 
Desperate foe, not to be pressed, 

69, 94. 
Desperate ground, 72, 114, 117, 120, 

125, 126, 135, 138, 143. 
Deviation, artifice of, 57, 63. 
Difficult grond, 71, 117, 120, 137. 
Disaffection, signs of, 95. 
Discipline, 2, 3, 4, 98, in. 
Disorder, seeming, 38. 
Disorganisation, 105, 107. 
Dispersive ground, 114, 118, 135. 
Disposition of troops, 26. 
Dispositions, concealment of, 51, 52; 

knowledge of the enemy's, 163. 
Dissimulation, 6r. 



Dividing the enemy, 47. 
Divination, to be prohibited, 126. 
" Divine manipulation of the threads," 


Door, left open by the enemy, 147. 
Doorkeepers, 171. 
Drums, 34, 64, 65. 
Dust, sign of the enemy, 89. 

Earth, as opposed to Heaven, 2, 4, 
27, 28, 113; six principles con- 
nected with, 104. 

Economy, false, 162. 

Energy, 38, 39, 41; concentration 
of, 124. 

Entangling ground, 100, 102. 

Enterprise, the spirit of, 157. 

Enticing the enemy, 102. 

Erh-chu Chao, 138. 

Erh Ya> quoted, 94. 

Excellence, supreme, 17; the acme 
of, 28. 

Expenditure on war, 9, 10, 160. 

Fabius Cunctator, u. 120. 

Facile ground, 115, 118, 135, 136. 

Fan Chii's use of spies, 166. 

Fei River, battle of the, 25. 

Feng Hou, Hi, 84. 

Feng I, a student of Sun Tzu, xlii. 

Fire, as an aid to the attack, 156; 
dropping, 151, 152; five ways of 
attacking with, 150; material for, 
152; proper seasons for attacking 
with, 152, 153; to be started on 
the windward side, 155. 

Five advantages, the, 72, 74, 75. 

Five cardinal tastes, 36. 

Five cardinal virtues, 3. 

Five classes of State ceremonial, xlviii. 

Five dangerous faults, 77. 

Five developments in attacking with 
fire, i53->W. 

Five elements, the, 53. 

Five essentials for victory, 23, 24. 

Five factors in war, i. 

Five musical notes, 36. 

Five Pa Wang, xlix, 141. 

Five primary colours, 36. 

Flags and banners, 16, 34, 64, 65. 

Flat country, campaigning in, 83, 84. 

Flight, 105. 

Foraging, 12, 15, 123, 161. 

Foreknowledge, 163. 

Forestalling the enemy, 147. 

Forethought, want of, 97. 

"Forty-one Years in India," referred 

to, 35- 

Four seasons, the, 54. 
Frederick the Great, quoted, 48, 

1 68, 169. 

Frontier passes, 146. 
Frontal attacks, 45. 
Fu Ch'ai. xvi. 
Fu Chien, 25, 115. 
Fu-ch'u, King of Ch'u, 124. 
Fu Kai, xxiii, xxix. 
Fu-k'ang-an, 63. 
Fu Yen-ch'ing, 69, 70. 

General, the, 4, 5, 7, 8, 15, 16, 19, 
21, 44, 55, 66, 77, 98, 107, 109, 
no, 130, 131, 134, 157, 159, 163, 
171, 174. 

Generals, professional, xxii. 

Generalship, degrees of, 17, 18; the 
highest, 48. 

Giles' Biographical Dictionary, quo- 
ted, 128. 

Giles' Chinese-English Dictionary, 
referred to, 57, 134. 

Gongs, 34, 64. 

Grant, General, 47. 

Great Wall of China, xliv. 

Greeks, Homeric, 9. 

Grindstone and egg, 35. 

Ground, high and low, 84; of inter- 
secting highways, 71, 116, 119, 
i35 J 37; proper use of, 130. 

Grounds, the nine, 114, 134, 138. 

Guides, local, 60, 140. 

Han, red banners of, 144. 
Han Chih. See Cfrien J/iin .S'////, 
bibliographical section of. 



Han Kuan Chieh Ku, quoted, xx. 
Han Hsin, xliv, 28, 33, 34, 81, 143, 

167; a student of Sun Tzti, xlii; 

quoted, 68. 

Han Shu. See Ch'ien Han Shu. 
Hannibal, n, 57, 66, 120, 140. 
Hasty temper, 78. 
Hearing, quick, 29. 
Heaven, 2, 4. 28, 113. 
Heights, precipitous, 100, 103. 
Hemmed-in ground, 72, 117, 120, 

135. r 37- 

Henderson, Col., quoted, 6, 42, 48, 
52, 59, 101, 130, 131. 

Herodotus, referred to, 129. 

Ho Ch'u-fei, xl. 

Ho Kuan 7zti, referred to, xxiv. 

Ho Lu (or Ho Lii), King ofWu, xi, 
xiii, xvi, xvii, xviii, xxvi, 5, 128. 

Ho Shih. See Ho Yen-hsi. 

Ho-yang, night ride to, 65. 

Ho Yen-hsi's commentary on Sun 
Tzu, xl; quoted, n, 14, 16, 18, 
21, 29, 30, 34, 56, 69, 74, no, 
115, 116, 122, 147, 165, 166, 167, 
168, 174; referred to, xvii, 31,43, 
62, 152. 

Horses, tethering of, 129. 

Hou Han Shu, quoted, 10, 94, 132, 
139, 151, 155; referred to, xlii. 

Hsi, the graduate, xxxiii. 

Hsia dynasty, 174. 

Hsiang, Duke of Sung, xlix, 141. 

Hsiang Chi, xlix, 133, 

Hsiang Liang, xlix. 

Hsiang Yu. See Hsiang Chi. 

Hsiao State, no. 

Hsiao Chi, a commentator, xli. 

Hsiao Hsien, 123. 

Hsiao I, 153, 166. 

Hsiao Shih-hsien. Sec Hsiao I. 

Hsieh An, 25. 

Hsieh Yuan, a commentator, xlii. 

Hsien Hu, 106. 

Hsin-ch'eng, town of, 122. 

Hsin Hsu, xiv. 

Hsin Shu (by Ts'ao Kung), xix, xxxvi. 

Hsin Shu (a work attributed to Chu- 

ko Liang), Hi. 
Hsin Tang Shu, referred to, 65, 

104, 105, 123, 167; bibliographical 

section of, referred to, xviii, liii. 
Using Li Hui Yao, quoted, xliii, 


Hsing Shih Pien Cheng Shu, xv. 
Hsiung-nu, 39, 139, 150. 
Hsu Ch'ieh, quoted, 160. 
Hsii-chou, invaded by Ts'aoTs'ao, 73. 
Hsu We*n Hsien Tung K'ao, liii. 
Hsiian Tsung, T'ang Emperor, xxxii. 
Hsun TzU, quoted, 80. 
Hsiin Ying, 73. 
Hu Yen, xiii. 
Hua-pi, city of, 73. 
Hua-yin temple, xxxii. 
Huai-nan Tzu, plagiary of Sun Tzu, 

xxiv; quoted, xiv. 
Huan, Duke of Ch'i, 128, 141. 
Huan Ch'ung, 25. 
Huan Hsiian, 78. 
Huang Ch'ao Ching Shih Wtn Pien, 

Huang Chih-cheng, a commentator, 


Huang Jun-yu, a commentator, xli. 
Huang Mei, 78. 
Huang-shih Kung, li; quoted, 109, 


Huang Ti. See Yellow Emperor. 
Huang-fu Sung, 94, 154, 155. 
Human nature, to be studied, 134. 
Humanity, misplaced, xlix; soldiers 

to be treated with, 98. 
Husbanding one's strength, 67. 
Husbandry, impeded by war, 161. 

I river, 127. 

I Chih, 173, 174, 175. 

I Ching, quoted, xv. 

I-chou, 165. 

I-ho, 115. 

/ Pu Che Chung, xliii. 

/ Shuo. See Cheng Yu-hsien. 

I-wu pass, 115. 



I Yin. See I Chih. 

Iliad, heroes of the, 127. 

Impoverishment of the people, 13, 14. 

Induction from experience, 163. 

Inhumanity, the height of, 162. 

Insubordination, 105. 

Intuition necessary in dealing with 
spies, 169. 

Invading force, principles to be ob- 
served by an, 123. 

Jackson, Stonewall, 59, 131. 

Jan Yu, disciple of Confucius, xlvi, 


Jang, siege of, 69. 
Jingles, 149, 158. 
Jn-nan, in. 
Julius Caesar, 12; his "De Bello Gal- 

lico" referred to, 108. 
Junction of forces, 48. 

K'ang Hsi's dictionary, referred to, 
10, 18, 35, 68, 95, 117, 152, 157, 
1 60. 

Kao-ch'ang, 115. 

Kao-fan. See Hu Yen. 

Kao Huan, afterwards Emperor, 137. 

Kao Keng, 151. 

Kao Tsu, first Han Emperor, 33, 

39 "9- 

Kao Tsu, Sui Emperor, 168. 

Kao-wu pass, 115. 

Khitans, 69. 

Khotan, 132. 

Kiangnan rebels under Sui dynasty, 


Kindness to the soldiers, no, in. 
Kou Chien, King of Yiieh, xvi, 50 
Ku Chin Tu Shu ChiC.frtng, quoted, 

xvi, xxxvii, xxxix ; referred to, xix, 

xli, li, liii. See also Sun Tzu, T'u 

Shu text of. 
Kuan Chung, 128. 
Kuan TzG, xxi. 

Kuang, King of Shan-shan, 139, 151. 
Kuang Po Wu Chih, liii. 
Kuang Wu, Han Emperor, li. 

Kuei-ku Tzti, li. 

K'uei-chou, 123. 

A''//// Wai Cfrun Cfriu, xxxvi. 

Kung-sun Hung, lii. 

Kuo Cfrao Shih Jen Chtng Lilch, 


Kuo Hsiin, 151. 
Kutcha, King of, 132. 

Ladder, kicking away the, 133. 

Ladysmith, relief of, 79. 

Land-tenure, ancient system of, xxv, 

Lao Tzu, the Tao of, 2 ; quoted, 155, 
158. See also Tao Te Ching. 

Legge's "Chinese Classics," referred 
to, ix, xxiv, 23, 32. 

Lengthy operations, 10, 11. 

Li, length of the, 9. 

Li Chi, referred to, 23, 147. 

Li Ching, the general, xliv, 41, 123, 
167; quoted, 35, 66, 87, in, 118; 
supposed author of a work on 
war, lii. 

Li Ching Ping Fa, lii. 

Li Chu, 29. 

Li Chilian's commentary on Sun Tzu, 
xxxvi; quoted, 9, n, 18, 21, 22, 
24, 25, 28, 30, 32, 34, 38, 46, 49, 
5> 5 T > 55> 6o 6 5> 6 7, 68, 72, 73, 
81, 83, 84, 89, 92, 97, 105, 106, 
no, 113, 114, 115, 117, 118,119, 
136, 142, 150, 158, 163, 167; re- 
. ferred to, 52, 95, 123, 127, 151. 

Li Hsiang, 165. 

Li Hsiung, 165. 

Li I-chi, 167. 

Li Kuang-pi, 65. 

Li Ling, 154. 

Li Shih-min, afterwards the Emperor 
T'ai Tsung, xliv, lii, 35, 104, 167. 

Li Shou-cheng, 70. 

Li Tai Chi Shih Nien Piao, quoted, 
70, 116, 166. 

Li T'e, 165. 

Li Ts'ai, a commentator, xlii. 
\ Li Wei-kung. See Li Ching. 



Li Wei Rung Wen Tui, lii. 

Liang, kingdom of, 94. 

Liang-chou, 115. 

Liang Hsi, 115. 

Lien P'o, 57, 166. 

Lin-chin, in Shensi, 34. 

Lin Hsiang-ju, 166. 

Line of least resistance, 53. 

Liu Chou-tzu, 53. 

Liu Hsiang, quoted, xiv, xxiv. 

Liu Pei, 59. 

Liu Piao, 69. 

Liu T ( ao (attributed to T'ai Kung), 

xxi, 1, li, 144, 174; quoted, 22, 

62, 78, 84. 
Liu Yii, 78. 

Livy, quoted, 66, 120, 140. 
Lo Shang, 165. 
Lo-yang, 104. 

Logs and stones, rolling, 41. 
Longevity, 127. 
Lou Ching, 39. 
Lu State, 128. 
^Lu Te-ming, quoted, li. 
Lii Kuang, 115. 
Lii Meng, a disciplinarian, in; a 

student of Sun Tzu, xlii. 
Lii Pu, xxxv. 
Lu Shang, known as T'ai Kung, 1, 

174, 175. See also Liu T'ao. 
LirShih Ch'un Cfriu, referred to, 

xxiv, 37. 

Lii Wang (or Lii Ya). See Lu Shang. 
Luan Yen, 106. 
Lun Yii, quoted, xv, 146; referred 

to, xlvii, xlix, 47. 64, 156. 
Lung Chii, 81. 

Ma Lung, lii. 

Ma Tuan-lin, xl. See also Wen Hsien 

Tung K l ao. 
Ma Yiian, 80. 
Maiden, coyness of a, 148. 
Mansfield, Lord, 143. 
Mantlets, 14, 18. 
Marches, forced, 59. 
Marengo, battle of, 57. 

"Marshal Turenne," quoted, 73, 169; 
referred to, 61. 

Marshes, 60. 

Measures, of land, 14; of length, 32; 
of weight, 15, 32. 

Mei Yao-ch'en's commentary on Sun 
Tzu, xxxviii; quoted, 4, 6, 7, n, 
29, 34, 38, 40, 44, 47, 61, 63, 79, 
84, 85, 86, 93, 94, 95, 96, 100, 102, 
121, 129, 130, 131, 135, 136, 137, 
138, 141, 145, 147, 148, 153, 155, 
157, 161, 162, 163, 164, 168, 169, 
170, 174; referred to, 15, 23, 43, 
46, 51, 106, 151. 

"Memoires concernant les Chinois," 
quoted, vii. 

"Memoires Historiques," referred to, 
xvi. See also Chavannes. 

Mencius, quoted, xxv, xliii, 14, 85; 
referred to, 29, 32, 112, 148. 

Meng K'ang, xxxvi. 

Meng Shih's commentary on Sun 
Tzu, xxxvi; quoted, 2, n, 15,61, 
77, 78, 116, 137, 147. 

Meng Ta, 122. 

Method, 2, 3, 31. 

"Military Classic," 144. 

Military tactics like water, 53. 

Military virtues, 22. 

Misfortune, three ways in which a 
ruler can cause, 2 1 sqq. 

Mistakes, making no, 30. 

Modem text of Sun Tzu. See Sun 

Modification of plans, 5. 

Moltke, 17. 

Moods, art of studying, 67. 

Moral Law, the, 2, 4, 31. 

Mounds, used in sieges, 19. 

Mountains, 80. 

Movable shelters, 18. 

Mu, Duke of Ch'in, 141. 

Mu-so, an instrument of torture, xlvi. 

Mu T'ien Tzu Chuan, 152. 

Mystification of one's men, 131. 

Xang Wa, xiii. 



Napoleon Bonaparte, 5, 12, 148; his 
passage across Alps, 57; not ham 
pered by central authority, 24; his 
"Maximes de Guerre," quoted, 84, 
109; his "Pensees," quoted, 101. 

Nelson, at Trafalgar, 37. 

Nervousness, a sign of, 93. 

Nicias, the Athenian general, 118; 
speech of, quoted, 125. 

Night-fighting, 65. 

Nine grounds (or situations), the, 72, 

Nine punitive measures, the, xxxix. 

Nine variations, the, 71, 72, 74, 138. 

"North hill", battle of the, 57. 

O-yii, town of, 57. 

Omens, not to be regarded, 126. 

Onset of troops, 37, 38. 

Open ground, 116, 119, 137. 

Opportunism, xlix. 

Orders, not to be divulged, 142, 143. 

Original text of Sun Tzu. See Sun 

Ou-yang Hsiu, quoted, xxxiv, xxxv, 


Overawing the enemy, 141. 
Over-caution, 158. 
Over-solicitude for one's men, 79. 

Pa Chtit T'tt, xviii. 

Pa Wang, the five, 141. 

Pan Ch'ao, 63; at Shan-shan, 139, 
150; his attack on Yarkand, 132, 

P'an Keng, 173. 

P'ang Chiian, xii, 40. 

Passes, narrow, 100, 103. 

Peace, the true object of war, 162. 

Pel Cfci Shu, referred to, 138. 

Pel Lun, xl. 

Pei Tang Shu Cfrao, 25, 36, 64, 67. 

P'ei Hsing-chien, 103. 

P'ei Wen Yun Fu, quoted, 94; re- 
ferred to, xlvi, 69, 146. 

Pelliot, M., xxxvi. 

Pi, battle of, 106. 

Pi I-hsiin, xviii, xxvi, xxxiv. See also 
Sun Tzti Hsu Lu. 

Pi Kua, xxxiii. 

Pi-yang, city of, 73. 

P'i, siege of, 165. 

Picked soldiers in front rank, 107, 

Ping Pa Tsa Chan, xviii. 

Ping Shu Yao Chiieh, 67. 

Pique, battles not to be fought out 
of, 158. 

Pitfalls, 60. 

Plagiaries of Sun Tzu, xxiii, xxiv. 

Plans, baulking the enemy's, 17; 
change of, 5, 132. 

Plataea, battle of, 129. 

Playfair's "Cities and Towns of 
China", referred to. 57. 

Plunder, 62. 

Po Ch'i, xliv, 117, 166. 

Po Chiang Chuan, xli. 

Po P'ei, xiii, xxiii, xxix. 

Po-teng, battle of, 39. 

Po-ts'ai, a leader of the Yellow Tur- 
ban rebels, 154. 

Po Ya, referred to, 160. 

P'o-t'ai, a spy, 165. 

Polybius, referred to, 120. 

Port Arthur, siege of, 19. 

Presence of mind, 66. 

Punishment, 95, 97, 98. 

Rabbits, not indigenous to China, 

Rapidity, 12, 61; the essence of war, 


Rewards, 15, 95, 142- 
Reward and punishment, constancy 

in, 4. 

Riches, soldiers not to acquire, 127. 
River, crossing a, 129. 
River warfare, 81, 82. 
Roberts, Lord, night march of, 35; 

on Sun Tzti, xlii. 
Rout, 105, 107. 
Ruin, one of the six calamities, 105, 




Ruler, military commander indepen- 
dent of the, 109; the enlightened, 

157, J 59. J 74- 
Rules of warfare, conventional, 148. 

Salt-marshes, 83. 

San Kuo Chih, quoted, 69, m; re- 
ferred to, xxxv, xli, xlii. See also 
Wei Chih. 

San Lueh, li; quoted, 62, 158. 

San Shih Erh Lei Ching, xviii. 

San Ts'ai Tu Hui, liii. 

San-yuan, 79. 

"Science of War," quoted, 101, 130. 

Scouts, 88, 89. 

Screens, grass, 88. 

Secrecy, 45, 131. 

Secrets, divulged by a spy, 170. 

Sedan, capitulation of, 17. 

Self-possession, 67. 

Sensitiveness in a general, 79. 

Sentries, 171. 

Serious ground, 117, 119, 135, 137. 

Seven considerations, i, 4. 

Sha-yiian, 168. 

Shan-shan, 139; King of, 150, 15 c. 

Shang dynasty, 173. 

Shen, Duke of, no. 

Shen-wu of Ch'i, 168. 

Shen Yu, a commentator, xli. 

Shepherd driving sheep, 133. 

Sheridan, General, 47. 

Shih Chi, objection to the chronology 
of, xxvi; quoted, xi, xiii, xv, xx, 
xlv, 40, 58, 80, 84, 90, 124, 128; 
referred to, xvi, xxii, xxiv, xxxiv, 
xlvi, xlvii, xlix, 1. See also Ssu-ma 

Shih Ching, quoted, xvi, 61, 62; re- 
ferred to, 14. 

Shih Huang Ti, 127, 142. 

Shih K'uang, 29. 

Shih Liu Ts l e, Hi. 

Shih Ssu-ming, the rebel leader, 65. 

Shu Ching, quoted, xv; referred to, 
xlvii, xlviii. 

Shu Lu Chieh Ti xxiii. 

Shuai-jan, the, xxvi, 128, 129. 

Shuo Wen, quoted, 94, 117, 160. 

Sicilian expedition, 118. 

Sieges, 10, 18, 19, 73. 

Sight, sharp, 29. 

Signal-fires, 65. 

Signals, 33. 

Signs, observation of, 88. 

Situations, the nine. See Nine grounds. 

Six Chancellors of the Ch'in State, 

"Six States" period, xxii. 

Skilful fighter, the, 30. 

Skilful leaders of old, 120. 

Solidarity of troops, 123. 

Sophanes at Plataea, 129. 

Sovereign, the, 55; the wise, 163. 

Spies, xlix, 52, 147, 148; converted, 
90, 1 66, 172, 173; doomed, 167, 
172, 173; five classes of, 164; 
Frederick's classification of, 168; 
importance of, 175; intimate re- 
lations to be maintained with, 
168; inward, 165, 172; local, 164, 
172; surviving, 167. 172; to be 
properly paid, 162, 169. 

Spirit, an army's, 65, 66. 

Spirits, 163. 

"Spy," evolution of the character 
meaning, 160. 

Spying, end and aim of, 173. 

Ssu K'-u Ch'uan Shu Chien Ming 
Mu Lu, quoted, 1, li, Hi. 

Ssu K'u Chilian Shu Tsung Mu 
Ti Yao, quoted, xx, xli, 1; referred 
to, xl, Hi, liii. 

Ssu-ma Ch'ien, xiv, xx; quoted, xi, 
xii, xlv ; credibility of his narrative, 
xxvi; his letter to Jen An, referred 
to, xlvi; his mention of the 13 
chapters, xxx. See also Shih Chi. 

Ssu-ma Fa, 1; quoted, xvi, 14, 17, 
78, 126, 143. 

Ssu-ma I, 46, 51, 122. 

Ssu-ma Jang-chii, xxii, 1, 98. 

Stagnation, 157. 

Standard text of Sun Tzu. See Sun Tzu. 


2O I 

Stellar Mansions, the twenty-eight, 153. 

Stonewall Jackson, biography of, 
quoted, 42, 59, 131. 

Strategy and tactics, 52. 

Strength, great, 29. 

Stupidity, to be feigned, 145. 

Su Hsiin, quoted, xlii. 

Su Shu, an ethical treatise, li. 

Subdivisions of an army. 17, 33, 39. 

Sui Shu, quoted, 151; bibliographi- 
cal section of, quoted, xviii, xli; 
referred to, xxxvi, liii. 

Sun Hao, a commentator, xli. 

Sun Hsing-yen, xxxii; his edition of 
Sun Tzu, ix; his preface, xxxiv; 
quoted, xvi, xxix, xxx, xxxi, xxxii, 
xxxiii, xxxvi, xlviii. 

Sun Pin, xii, xv, xvi, 40. 

Sun Tz%, archaic words in, xxiv; 
bibliographical description of edi- 
tion used, xxxiv; corruptions in the 
text of, xxxi ; difficult passages in, 
xxxiv; state of the text, 138; pro- 
bable date of the work, xxviii. 

- Modern text, 25, 26, 27, 33. 

Original text, xxxii, xxxiii, 2, 16, 
27, 29, 43, 47, 53, 58, 62, 64, 67, 
84, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92,95,98,113, 
119, 121, 153, 154, 168. 

- Standard text, xxxiv, 10, 58, 91, 
95, 117, 127, 164. 

- Tai I Tun Chia text, xxxvi. 

T k u Shu text, xxxi, 16, 21, 25, 
29, 30, 32, 33, 35, 37, 4, 43, 46, 
47, 5, 5 2 , 58, 64, 67, 69, 84, 87, 

91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 105, no, 114, 
117, 120, 121, 133, 135, 140,145, 
146, 153, 159, 164, 167, 168,171, 

i?2, 175- 

- T'ung Tien text, xxxiii, i, 10, 
12, 19, 22, 23, 25, 41, 45, 47, 50, 
53, 5 8 59, 62 , 6 4> 65, 67, 68, 74, 
77, 81, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 

92, 93, 94, 95, 98, 101, 104, 108, 
112, 113, 117, 119, 136, 137, J 52, 
r 53, !5 8 , *59, l6 4, l6 7, i? * 1 ? 1 * 

Yii Lan text, xxxiii, 3, 7, 10, 
12, 14, 15, 19, 25, 27, 37, 42, 
45, 47, 5, 52, 53, 62, 64, 67, 68, 
77, 81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 

9 2 , 93, 94, 95, 9 8 , Io8 , II2 > I2 i, 
129, 141, 153, 158, 159, 161, 164, 
167, 170, 171, 172. 

Sun Tzu Hsu Lu, xviii, xxxiv; quoted, 
xxiii, xxiv, 118. 

Sun Tzu Hui Chtng, xlii. 

Sun Tzu Ts'an Tung, xlii. 

Sun Tzu Wtn Ta, xvii. 

Sun Wu, a practical soldier, xxv; 
conjectural outline of his life, xxix; 
not a man of eminent position, 
xxviii; probable origin of the legend 
connected with, xxix; Sstt-ma 
Ch'ien's biography of, xi; sup- 
posititious works of, xvii, xviii. 
See also Sun Tzu. 

Sun Wu Sun Tzu, xvii. 

Sung Shih, referred to, xlii; biblio- 
graphical section of, xvii, xxxi, 
xxxvi, Hi, liii. 

Superstitious doubts, 126. 

Supplies, 137, 161: line of, 101. 

Ta-hsi Wu, 168. 

Ta Ming / Tung Chih, quoted, 


Taboo character, 124. 
Tactical manoeuvring, 56. 
Tactician, the skilful, 128. 
Tactics, direct and indirect, 20, 34 

sqq.; modification of, 52, 53; not 

to be repeated, 52; variation of, 

26, 71, 74- 

T'ai Kung. See Lu Shang. 
Tai Kung Ping Fa, li. 
Tai P'ing Yu Lan, xvi, xxxiii, liii. 

See also Sun Tzti, Yu Lan text. 
Tai-po Shan-jen, quoted, 132. 
Tai Po Yin Ching, xxxvi. 
T'ai Tsung, the Emperor. See Li 


Tai Yuan Ching, referred to, xxiv. 
Tallies, official, 146. 



T'ang, prince of, xiii. 

Tang, the Completer. See Ch'eng 

Tang Chien, 167. 
T'ang Shu, bibliographical section 
of, referred to, xxxviii, xli. See also 
Hsin T'ang Shu and Chiu T'ang 

Tao Te* Ching, quoted, xlix, 147, 
155, 158, 161. 

Temple, used for deliberations, 7, 8. 

Temporising ground, 100, 102. 

Tenacity, 125. 

Teng Ch'iang, 78. 

Teng Ming-shin, quoted, xv. 

Terrain, natural advantages of, 108; 
six kinds of, 100. 

Textual criticism and emendations, 
i, 7, 13, H, 25, 29, 30, 36, 41, 
43, 46, 47, 49, 71, 74, 86, 87, 91, 
94, 99, 113, 117, 121, 124, 127, 

133, i5 8 . l6 7- 
Thermopylae, 115. 
Three ancient dynasties, the, xxxix. 
Thucydides, quoted, 125; referred 

to, 1 1 8. 
Ti river, 144. 
Tien Chi, 40. 
T'ien-i-ko catalogue, quoted, xxxvi, 


Tien Pao, xv. 
Tien Pu, 105. 
Tien Tan, defender of Chi-mo, 90, 

120, 155; his use of spies, 166. 
Time, value of, 12; waste of, 157. 
Ton Chien-te, King of Hsia, 104. 
Tou Ku, 151. 
Trafalgar, battle of, 37. 
Training of officers and men, 4. 
Trebia, battle of the, 66. 
Ts'ai, prince of, xiii. 
Ts'ao Kuei, mentioned in the Tso 

Chuan, xxi; on the advantage of 

spirit, 66; threatens Huan Kung, 

Ts'ao Kung or Ts'ao Ts'ao, xix, xxxi, 

xxxvi, xiii, xliv, 4, 59.69.76,151; i 

his commentary on Sun Tziti, xxxv, 
xxxvii, xxxviii, xl; quoted, i, 7, 
9, ii, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 
26, 28, 34, 35, 39, 40, 4i, 44, 46, 
51, 52, 55, 56, 59, 60, 67, 71, 73, 
75. 76, 77, 78, 81, 84, 86, 88, 91, 
94, 95. 96, 97, 9 8 . IC 3. i4, 106. 

Ill, 115, Il6, Il8, 119, 120, 122, 
125, 126, 127, 131, 137, 140, 142, 
143, 145, 146, 147, 148, 152,154, 

156, 157; referred to, 19, 43, 62, 
136; his preface, xx, xxxiv; trans- 
lated, xv sqq. 

Tseng Shen, xxiv. 

Tso Chuan, delivered to Wu Ch'i, 
xxiv; has no mention of SuiiTzu, 
xx, xxvi, xxviii; quoted, xxvii, xxix, 
xlix, 19, 59, 65, 89, 97, 106, in, 
162; referred to, xxi, xlvii. 

Tso Tsung-t'ang, 63. 

Tsui-li, battle of, xxx. 

Tu Chung-wei, 69, 70. 

Tu Mu's commentary on Sun Tzii, 
xxxvi, xxxvii, xxxviii; quoted, 4, 
n, 14, 15, 18, 19, 23, 26, 28, 29, 
3. 3 1 . 33. 34, 37. 39. 40, 41, 42, 
44, 45. 46, 5. 52, 55. 5 6 , 57, 59. 
60, 61, 62, 64, 67, 68, 69, 75, 76, 
77, 78, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 88, 
89, 90, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98, 101, 
105, 106, 107, no, in, 112, 114, 

115, Il8, 119, 122, 124, 126,131, 

133, 136, 137, 138, 146, 148, 149. 

151. !5 2 , r 53> i54, 155. J 5 6 , i57, 
158, 161, 163, 164, 165, 167, 168, 
169, 171, 175; referred to, 20,65, 
73, 150; his preface, quoted, xix, 
xxxvii, xxxviii, xlv. 

Tu Shu Chih, Hi. 

Tu Yu, xxxiii; his notes on Sun Tzii 
in the T l ung Tien, xxxvii; quoted, 
4, 6, n, 19, 23, 24, 36, 38, 47, 
56, 60, 61, 62, 77, 83, 88, 91, 92, 

93. 94, 95. I0 . I01 . I02 , I0 3. I0 4, 

116, 117, 120, 137, 138, 152, 153, 
166, 167, 169, 171, 172; referred 
to, 28, 51, 74, 155, 173. 



T l u Shu encyclopaedia. See Ku 

Chin T^u Shu Chi Ch'eng. 

- Text of Sun Tzti in the. See 

Sun Tzu. 

Tung Cho, xxxv, 94. 
Tung Chou Lieh Kuo, quoted, 56. 
T l iing Chih, referred to, xxxii, xxxvi, 

xl, xli, liii. 
T'ung Tien, xvii, xxxiii, xxxvii, Hi, 

liii. See also Tu Yu. 
- Text of Sun Tzu in the. See 

Sun Tzu. 
Turenne, Marshal, on deceiving the 

enemy, 61 ; on sieges, 73; on spies, 


Tzu-ch'an, saying of, xlix. 
Tzu-ch'ang. See Nang Wa. 

"Unterricht des Konigs von Preus- 

sen," quoted, 168, 169. 
Uxbridge, Lord, 5. 

Valleys, 80. 

Victory, halfway towards, in. 112; 

without fighting, 17. 
Virtues, the five cardinal, 3. 

Wan, town of, 122. 
Wang Chien, 124. 
Wang Hsi's commentary on Sun Tzu, 
xl; quoted, i, 2, n, 13, 14, 23, 

26, 33, 34, 3 8 > 44, 5 2 53> 55. 6o 
61, 63, 71, 78, 84, 92, 94, 95, 96, 
106, 114, 117, 119, 124, 132, 133, 
i35> J 37, 142, i55> J 57> 169; re- 
ferred to, 67, 76. 

Wang Kuo, the rebel, 94. 

Wang Liao, 128. 

Wang Ling, a commentator, xxxvii, 
xli. See also Wang Tzu. 

Wang Shih-ch'ung, 104. 

Wang T'ing-ts'ou, 105. 

Wang Tzu, quoted, 4, 6, 24. 

Wang-tzu Ch'eng-fu, xiii. 

War, want of fixity in, 54. 

Warlike prince, 141, 158. 

Water, an aid to the attack, 156. 

Waterloo, battle of, 5, 48, 130. 

Weapons, 14 

Weeping, 127. 

Wei, kingdom of, xxxv; province 

of, 105. 
Wei river, 81. 
Wei Chih (in the San Kuo Chili}, 

xix, xxxvi. 
Wei I, 106. 
Wei Liao Tzu, li; quoted, 35, 73, 

97, 99, 107, 125; referred to, xxiv. 
Wei Po, 165. 

Wei Wu Ti. See Ts'ao Kung. 
Well-being of one's men, to be stu- 
died, 123. 
Wellington, his description of his 

army at Waterloo, 130; on the 

eve of Waterloo, 5 ; saying, of, no; 

skilful in dissimulation, 6. 
Wen, Duke of Chin, 141. 
Wtn Hsien T'ung K'ao, quoted, 

xxxvii, xxxviii, xl, xli; referred to, 

xxi, xxiii, xxxvi, liii. 
Wen-su, King of, 132. 
Wen Ti, Emperor of Sui dynasty, 151. 
Wen Wang, 1, 174. 
Western Sacred Mountain, xxxii. 
Wind, days of, 153; duration of, 155. 
"Words on Wellington," quoted, 5. 
Wu, city of, xiv; king of, 118. Sec 

also Ho Lu. 
Wu State, xxv, 49, 50, 129, 159; 

dates in the history of, xxvii, xxviii; 

first mentioned in history, xxvii. 
Wu Ch'i, 1, 64, 65, no; compared 

with Sun Wu, xliii; plagiary of 

Sun Tzti, xxiv. See also Wu Tzu. 
Wu C/i'i C/iing, Hi. 
Wu Huo, 29. 
Wu Jen-chi, xxxiii. 
Wu-lao, heights of, 104. 
Wu Nien-hu, xxxiii. 
Wu-tu, town of, 165. 
Wu-tu Ch'iang, 80. 
Wu Tzu, xix, 1; quoted, 24, 56,66, 

77, 80, 81, 98, 107, 115, 131, 142, 

156; referred to, xxiv. 



Wu Tzu-hsii, xxix, xlviii. See also 

Wu Yuan. 

Wu Wang, xvi, 20, 175. 
Wu Yuan, xiii, xxiii, 56; a spurious 

treatise fathered on, xxix. 
Wu Yiieh Ch l un Ch'iu, quoted, xiv, 

Wylie's "Notes," referred to, xli, Hi. 

Ya, King of Chao, 144. 

Yang Han, 115. 

Yang-p'ing, city of, 46. 

Yangtsze river, 123. 

Yao Hsiang, 78. 

Yarkand, battle of, 132. 

Yeh Shih or Yeh Shui-hsin, his theory 

about Sun Tzu, xxi, xxiii, xxv; 

on Sun Tzu's style, xxiv. 
Yellow Emperor, the, xvi, 84. 
Yellow Turban rebels, 154. 
Yen, King of Hsu, xvi, xlix. 
Yen Shih-ku, 167. 
Yen Ti, 84. 
Yen Tzti, quoted, 98. 

Yin and Yang, 2. 

Yin dynasty, 173, 174. 

Yin Fu Ching, xxxvi, in. 

Ying, capital of Ch'u, xii, xiii, xvi, 


Ying K'ao-shu, xxi. 
Yo Fei, a student of Sun Tzu, xiii. 
Yo I, 117. 
Yu Hai, quoted, xiii; referred to, 

xxxvi, xl, Hi, liii. 
Yu Lan encyclopaedia. See T'ai 

P'ing Yu Lan. 
Text of Sun Tzu in the. See Sun 

Yuan, the two, opponents of Ts'ao 

Ts'ao, xxxv. 

Yuan Chien Lei Han, liii. 
Yuan Shao, 151. 
Yiieh State, 129; compared with Wu, 

xxvi, 49, 50; first mentioned in 

history, xxvii. 

Yiieh Chiieh Shu, quoted, xiv. 
Yiieh Yu, xxi. 
Yung Lo Ta Tien, Hi. 


P. ix, note: For "edition" read "translation." 

14, line 3: For "by" read "in the." 

16, line 5: For "T." read "T'u Shu:' 

19, note: Before "War" insert "Soldiers are not to be used as 

17, i: ^ jtF , etc. The more I think about it, the more I prefer 
the rendering suggested on p. 159, 22, note. 

i note, and p. 78, line 6: Insert "the" before "Ssu-ma Fa." 

33, note on heading: Cf. X. 12, where fife is translated "strength," 
though it might also be "conditions." The three words ^Jj , ^jjjfa 
and fife have been much confused. It appears from the Shuo 
Wn that the last character is post-classical, so that Sun Tzii 
must have used either ^fj or ijjjjfc in all senses. 

45, line i: For "sublety" read "subtlety." 

63, line 4: M. Chavannes writes in the T'-oung Pao, 1906, p. 210: 
"Le general Pan Tch'ao n'a jamais porte les armes chinoises 
j usque sur les bords de la mer Caspienne." I hasten to correct 
my statement on this authority. 

80, 9 th line from the bottom: For Q read pj . 

109, 23, note, and p. 126, 5 !h line from bottom: For "Huang Shih- 
kung" read "Huang-shih Kung." 

124, line 7: For "Ch'en" read "Ch'en Hao." 

136, n th line from bottom: Insert "to" before "select." 

152, 2: Substitute semi-colon for full stop after "available." 


.IAN 51987